My passion for art centers

Recently posted to the Scissortail Art Center blog:

Four months back or so an Internet acquaintance also interested in the work of arts centers emailed me a link to an academic paper titled Artists’ Centers: Evolution and Impact on Careers, Neighborhoods, Economies. The paper examines the history and success of artist centers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region, where they are plentiful. Putting significant time and energy towards preparation for the birth of our first child, I made my way through it very slowly this spring, and recently came to the conclusion that I was already aware of everything it presented.

This didn’t occur to me at first. Considering my passionate interest in the idea of an art center, I began reading the paper eagerly. I expected to learn a lot, having no formal experience working with an art center. Yet.

I realized after reading the introduction (the remainder of the publication profiles the numerous Minneapolis/St. Paul art centers) that all of the thought and research my wife and I have thus far put into the Scissortail Art center idea had already brought to light all of the ideas and challenges presented in the paper. The financial challenges, the cultural challenges, the reasons behind establishing a center or retreat in the first place and so forth. In one respect this was surprising, then again not so much.

I’m not sharing this to boast. If I was able to do the research and critical thinking to plan for an art center without having first-hand experience, anyone interested in such a venture should be able to do the same. I’m sharing this simply to express the depth of my interest in this idea.

Hat tip to Shannon Newby for sharing the paper with me earlier this year.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to My passion for art centers

  1. Sarah HI says:

    Thanks for this! I plan to print off this paper and share it with our Arts Council. We are trying to establish an art center in this town, but the obstacles are numerous. What is challenging for me is that I am equally passionate about making sculptures. It is difficult to devote ones time to two consuming endeavors. Looking forward to reading this.

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