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Annual Report and Financial Information


The mission of White Bear Center for the Arts is to provide a gateway to diverse arts experiences.

Because we value:

  • Creative process
  • Openness
  • Transformative experience

We fulfill our mission by:

  • Educating new and established artists;
  • Cultivating the understanding of art in its many forms; and,
  • Celebrating the joys of art.

The following impact statements guide the organization:

  • Art is accessible to all
  • People feel safe and comfortable pursuing an artistic experience
  • People feel connected to art through “wow” moments
  • Art is an intrinsic and valued part of everyday life
  • WBCA has regional recognition and influence in the arts

Guided by its mission to provide a gateway to diverse arts experiences, WBCA offers approximately 900 high quality art classes per year.  Offerings are available for all experience levels and ages and include:

  • Visual arts
  • Creative writing
  • Movement
  • Culinary arts
  • Artistic professional development
  • Art lectures
  • Premier workshops with internationally renowned artists
  • Imagine Art, a summer camp providing eight weeks of hands-on, unique art classes for children and youth ages 6-13

With more than 6800 class registrations in 2017, class participation has more than doubled since moving to the new facility in 2013.  Class offerings have increased about 36% in the same time period.

Each summer, WBCA offers Imagine Art classes for youth ages 6 to 13.  In 2017, WBCA offered 128 different Imagine Art classes. Three hundred thirteen unique students registered for a total of 920 classes.

WBCA makes programming accessible to all by offering scholarships to anyone in need.  In 2017, WBCA granted $12,500 in class scholarships (an increase of 30% over 2016).  WBCA also offered 124 free onsite classes in 2017 (an increase of 15% over 2016) in a multitude of artistic disciplines.

WBCA’s community outreach programs reach thousands of children and adults who might otherwise lack access to the arts:

  • The Arts in Elementary program serves 4,000 children grades K-5 in the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Each student receives six art experiences per year from WBCA teaching artists. This partnership was awarded the Local Government Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
  • WBCA annually serves approximately 30-40 children from low-income families at Solid Ground, a White Bear Lake transitional housing community for families emerging from homelessness.
  • WBCA annually serves approximately 200 youth and adults with disabilities through arts classes and experiences.
  • WBCA partners with local schools, senior centers, and libraries to provide arts experiences to hundreds of people per year.
  • Community events include high school writing and visual arts contests, Sandcastles and Creatures Building Contest, winter open house, film screenings, and live music performances. These events are free and open to the public.
  • WBCA provides free workspace and support for Bloom, a group of artists with disabilities. These artists come to WBCA to weave three days a week.
  • Two Minnesota State Arts Board grants have helped WBCA build cultural capacity and equity. An Arts Access grant helped WBCA provide culturally relevant programs to build authentic relationships with Hmong American artists and community members, with more than 1400 people attending grant-related programs. An Arts Learning grant supported a collaboration with photographic artist Wing Young Huie in a residency at White Bear Lake Area High School. He engaged 1500 students in a project that utilized the arts as a vehicle for social justice.

Through community events in 2017, WBCA showcased area artists:

  • WBCA hosted the 43rd annual Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition.  One hundred thirty-four artists submitted a total of 452 pieces of artwork, with 66 selected for the exhibition.  Best of Show went to Henge Hogs by Tom Stewart.
  • 195 area teens from the Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, Stillwater, and White Bear Lake school districts participated in the 2017 WriteNow! high school writing contest, submitting entries in the categories of poetry, short story, persuasive essay, creative non-fiction, and one-act play.  Students read their winning entries at an awards ceremony on May 4.
  • In 2017, WBCA hosted its second High School Visual Arts Contest, providing an opportunity for young artists to participate in a professional gallery experience. Eighty-one students submitted artwork to be juried.
  • In June, WBCA sponsored the annual Sandcastles & Creatures Building Contest on Memorial Beach as part of Manitou Days.  Approximately 100 people participated in this popular contest.
  • The Members’ Exhibition featured 104 WBCA members in 2017.  Two hundred people attended the opening reception.

WBCA hosted eight premier exhibitions in its Ford Family Gallery in 2017. All WBCA exhibitions are free and open to the public six days and three evenings per week. Exhibitions represent diversity of artistic disciplines, cultures, social perspectives, ages, and abilities, and are accompanied by subject related classes, free demonstrations, and public lectures.

2017 exhibitions included:

  • A is for Animal – WBCA partnered with the Minnesota Museum of American Art to feature seldom-seen art from their archive collection.
  • 43rd Annual Northern Lights Juried Exhibition
  • 2017 High School Visual Arts Contest
  • What Do You See? – During the 2016-17 school year, WBCA collaborated with photographic artist Wing Young Huie in a residency at White Bear Lake Area High School that utilized the arts as a vehicle for social justice. The project concluded with an exhibition featuring students’ photographs, drawings, paintings, pottery, and films, all reflecting the complex realities of their fellow students.
  • Woven Together – This exhibition featured the work of a Quechua weaving community from the Andean region of Peru and included several demonstrations by a master weaver.
  • Inner Gold – This exhibition featured work from fiber artist Tressa Sularz.
  • Becoming American – WBCA hosted an exhibition by emerging artist Sieng Lee, which explored the intersections of being Hmong and American and Lee’s experience as a Hmong American artist.
  • 2017 Members’ Exhibition

Rotating art exhibitions, featuring WBCA member artists, were enjoyed by thousands of community members throughout the year.  Locations included Northeast Youth & Family Services and Cerenity Senior Care.

WBCA is the only nonprofit arts center in the Greater Northeast Metro Area offering a diverse range of year-round art classes, events, and programs for children, adults, and families. Annually, WBCA directly serves 5000 children, 3000 adults and seniors, and an additional 25,000 individuals through events and outreach. WBCA draws participants from 180+ zip codes, with the majority coming from Ramsey (60%) and Washington (25%) counties.

White Bear Center for the Arts has a significant impact on our local economy. A study conducted by Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity III, shows a 7:1 return on investment for funding of the arts. Investment in WBCA is returned to the community in the form of jobs, economic growth, and cultural vitality.

Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector, a study released in 2015 by Americans for the Arts and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, found that WBCA generates an annual impact of $1.7 million on the local economy and supports the equivalent of 44 full time jobs in the community.


Volunteers play a critical role at White Bear Center for the Arts.  WBCA volunteers assist with educational programming, community events, fundraising, and much more.  In 2017, approximately 160 volunteers contributed more than 1900 hours to WBCA!

Chair: Nor Olson
Vice Chair: Mark Shavlik
Treasurer: Steve Wolgamot
Secretary: Alan Kantrud

Robert Brittain
Donna Bruhl
Katherine Curran
Kim Ford
Cindy Ihlenfeld
Karen Kepple
Alex Legeros
Sara Nephew
Karl Sevig
Bon Sommerville
Malia Yang-Xiong

Emeritus Directors
Sue Ahlcrona
Patricia Berger
Robert Cuerden
Mary Gove
Roberta Johnson
Mary Levins
Kraig Thayer Rasmussen

Current year board members are listed here.


Arts Education: 46%
Contributions: 34%
Grants: 11%
Membership Revenue: 5%
Community Programs & Art Sales: 3%
Other: 1%

Program Services: 77%
Management and General: 14%
Fundraising: 9%

Forms 990

2015 Form 990
2016 Form 990
2017 Form 990

Financial Statements

12/31/2015 Financial Statements
12/31/2016 Financial Statements
12/31/2017 Financial Statements

Past Annual Reports

2014 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report


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