• title_bar_register1

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 6-14

Class offerings have increased 30% since 2013.  Class registrations have increased 82% in the same period.
Each summer, WBCA offers  Imagine Art classes for youth ages 6 to 14.  In 2016:

  • WBCA expanded Imagine Art to 10 weeks
  • WBCA offered 115 different classes
  • 320 unique students took a total of 946 classes, an 11% increase over 2015

WBCA makes programming accessible to all by offering scholarships to anyone in need.  In 2016, WBCA awarded $11,215 in class scholarships (an increase of 173% since 2013).  WBCA also offered 108 free onsite classes in 2016 (an increase of 620% since 2013) in a multitude of artistic disciplines, including painting, writing, photography, public lectures, and artist discussion.
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 75 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
  • Free art activities are offered at local events, schools, and libraries
  • Community events include high school writing and visual arts contests, Sandcastles and Creatures Building Contest, winter and summer open houses, film screenings, and live music performances. These events are free and open to the public.
  • In 2016, WBCA began providing free workspace and support for a group of artists with disabilities. These artists come to WBCA to weave three days a week.

Through community events in 2016, WBCA showcased area artists:

  • WBCA hosted the 42nd annual Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition.  119 artists submitted a total of 421 pieces of artwork, with 55 selected for the exhibition.  Best of Show went to Prince Albert in America by Susan Steging Cook.
  • 121 area teens from the Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, Stillwater, and White Bear Lake school districts participated in the 2016 WriteNow! high school writing contest, submitting entries in the categories of poetry, short story, essay, and one-act play.  Students read their winning entries at an awards ceremony on May 5.
  • In 2016, WBCA hosted its first juried exhibition for local high school students, providing an opportunity for young artists to participate in a professional gallery experience. 90 students submitted artwork in the first year of the contest, which will be held annually.
  • In June, WBCA provided Art Cars on Parade for the annual Manitou Days parade in downtown White Bear Lake, an event attended by an estimated 5000 people.  WBCA also 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 166 WBCA members in 2016.  More than 300 people attended the opening reception.

WBCA hosts six to eight premier exhibitions annually in its Ford Family Gallery. All 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.

2016 exhibitions included:

  • Recollection: Shadow to Matter
  • 42nd Annual Northern Lights Juried Exhibition
  • 2016 High School Visual Arts Contest
  • Beyond the Selfie: Going Deeper into Meaning & Metaphor
  • Plein Air Exhibition
  • Form Over Function Pottery Show
  • Small Art~Big Hearts
  • 2016 Members’ Exhibition

Approximately 20 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 200+ 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 2016, approximately 160 volunteers contributed more than 1900 hours to WBCA!

Chair: Nor Olson
Vice Chair: Leonardo Castro and Mark Shavlik
Treasurer: Patricia Berger
Secretary: Kim Ford
Ex-Officio Director: Mary Gove

Robert Brittain
Donna Bruhl
Kathy Curran
Kevin Hart
Cindy Ihlenfeld
Alan Kantrud
Matt Lipp
Jeff Schreier
Karl Sevig
Steve Wolgamot
Malia Yang-Xiong

Emeritus Directors
Sue Ahlcrona
Robert Cuerden
Roberta Johnson
Neil Johnston
Mary Levins
Kraig Thayer Rasmussen
Dan Wachtler

Current year board members are listed here.


Arts Education: 46%
Contributions: 36%
Grants: 10%
Membership Revenue: 5%
Community Programs & Art Sales: 2%
Other: 1%

Program Services: 76%
Management and General: 14%
Fundraising: 10%

Forms 990

2014 Form 990
2015 Form 990
2016 Form 990

Financial Statements

12/31/2014 Financial Statements
12/31/2015 Financial Statements
12/31/2016 Financial Statements

Past Annual Reports

2013 Annual Report
2014 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report


Comments are closed.