Minnesota Regional Arts Councils

For your viewing edification, click here.


Posted in Uncategorized


The first step for Goodhue County to gain parity for the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Legacy Fund is to learn how to apply for this tremendous and unique opportunity.

Here is your opportunity to learn more next Friday (03-19-2016) at the Anderson Center at Tower View.

SEMAC Flyer-1


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Business incubation…


Back in 2010 when this wacky idea of starting a small business incubator in Downtown Red Wing was just starting to take hold, the realization that we should spend some early money on professional incubation education seemed like a good idea.

We joined the National Business Incubation Association (now called the International Business Innovation Association) and attended two national conferences.

The first conference was a two day crash course in business incubation, the do’s and don’ts of starting an incubator.

The second conference was all about networking with other like-minded incubators.

Here were a few high level takeaways from this education:

  1. The is no single model of business incubation that fits all communities.  Business incubation needs to be tailored to fit the needs of the community.
  2. In the broadest definition, business incubation is anything that promotes and helps small businesses get started and grow.  This can be accomplished with mentoring, financial help or simple encouragement.
  3. There will always be opportunists who will try and take advantage of incubation services.  One bad deal can bring an entire incubator down.  It is good to be skeptical and realistic at the same time.
  4. Practice tough love with your clients.

This early education was very helpful and it did create some long term relationships in the industry.  But there is no substitute for experience and there is no way to gain experience without active business engagement.


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That was then, this is now…

Three years ago, the Red Wing Innovation Incubator used the results of the Red Wing Creative Economy Report to establish a concrete focus for the incubator.

This report pointed out that the immediate area was on the wrong side of the bell curve when it came to the size of the local creative economy.

This presented the opportunity.  Now we needed a direction.

Film was the initial direction and we recruited Flyway Film Festival, Emergence Pictures and Lu Lippold Media.

That was then, this is now.


In 2016 RWii needed a new focus and a new energy.  The steering committee kicked around a few ideas and finally settled on the literary arts as the next area of economic focus.

Once you have a focus, things fall into place.

JessiSo we immediately recruited Mountain Owl Ink, Le Mieux and Tinderbox Editions.

And so it begins yet again.


Posted in Art, Creative economy, Entrepreneurship

$1.2 Billion (billion with a B)

logo-newMinnesota citizens are only now beginning to see the fruits of the Legacy Amendment.

The Minnesota DNR website summed it up best…

Making Minnesota Better

“In 2008, Minnesota voters took a bold and historic action by imposing a three-eighths of one percent tax on themselves for 25 years, until 2034, in the name of cleaner water, healthier habitat, better parks and trails and sustaining our arts and cultural heritage. Today, five years later, that tax has generated more than a billion dollars for Legacy projects.”

The Minnesota Legacy Amendment is an amazing success story in which the citizens of Minnesota through direct referendum and overwhelming majority, amended the state constitution to increase a tax upon themselves to pay for:

  1. A cleaner environment
  2. Improved livability
  3. Investment in arts and cultural heritage

It took an entire year for the tax to be collected and it has taken a couple of years to work out a distribution system, but the Legacy Amendment will mean $1.2 billion in arts and cultural heritage funded projects and programs over the 25 year life of the tax.

And a billion of anything is a lot.

Posted in Art, Creative economy, Uncategorized

How much does RWii cost Joe Lunchpail?


RWii has not and doesn’t plan to ask for public funding.

We chase private foundations who have plenty of money and they like the idea that they can insist on direct accountability.

We like that too.

We also count on user fees.

But we are most indebted to the hours and hours of donated time by smart citizens.

Posted in Entrepreneurship

Flyway Film Festival


Flyway was the third RWii tenant and very deliberate.

Flyway was not invited or asked or made to suffer through a PowerPoint presentation.

Flyway was kidnapped.  It just simplified things.

The idea was that Flyway would be an anchor tenant for a small video economy in the immediate area.

Since then, Flyway is flyway, which means they do their thing.

And that is just fine.  This is how the creative economy works.

More, later.

Posted in Creative economy, Economic Gardening, Entrepreneurship