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Annual Report and Financial Information



Founded in 1968, White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA) has served the Greater Northeast Metro Area for more than 50 years. In 2013, through generous community support, WBCA moved into a new facility which has allowed the organization to establish itself as the primary arts resource in the region, expand and diversify program offerings, and serve 22,000 people per year.

2018 was a milestone year as White Bear Center for the Arts celebrated its 50th anniversary.  Governor Mark Dayton officially declared May 16 as White Bear Center for the Arts Day in the state of Minnesota. A proclamation from the White Bear City Council also declared May 16, 2018, White Bear Center for the Arts Day in White Bear Lake, MN.  Visit https://whitebeararts.org/50th-anniversary/ to learn more and view a video celebrating 50 years.

The mission of White Bear Center for the Arts is to provide a gateway to diverse arts experiences. WBCA fulfills its mission by educating new and established artists, cultivating the understanding of art in its many forms, and celebrating the joys of art.


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 ten weeks of hands-on, unique art classes for children and youth ages 6-13

With more than 7300 class registrations in 2018, 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 2018, WBCA offered 111 different Imagine Art classes. Three hundred thirty unique students registered for a total of 864 classes.

WBCA makes programming accessible to all by offering scholarships to anyone in need.  In 2018, WBCA granted $15,000 in class scholarships (an increase of 20% over 2017).  WBCA also offered 90 free onsite classes in 2018 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 4,200 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 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.


Through community events in 2018, WBCA showcased area artists:

  • WBCA hosted the 44th annual Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition.  One hundred seventy-two artists submitted a total of 577 pieces of artwork, with 62 selected for the exhibition.  Best of Show went to Portrait of Sylvia by Suzann Beck.
  • One hundred eighteen area teens from the Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, Stillwater, and White Bear Lake school districts participated in the 2018 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 3.
  • In 2018, WBCA hosted its third annual High School Visual Arts Contest, providing an opportunity for young artists to participate in a professional gallery experience. Eighty-six students submitted artwork to be juried.
  • The Members’ Exhibition featured 136 WBCA members in 2018.  Two hundred seventy-five people attended the opening reception.

WBCA hosted seven premier exhibitions in its Ford Family Gallery in 2018. 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.

2018 exhibitions included:

  • Start the Songs, Tell the Tales – featuring artist Erik Pearson
  • 44th Annual Northern Lights Juried Exhibition
  • 2018 High School Visual Arts Contest
  • Confession and Discretion – featuring artists Erica Spitzer Rasmussen and Margo Mueller Selski
  • Natural Reflections – featuring the work of Project Art for Nature, a group of artists and illustrators from Minnesota and Wisconsin working independently and collaboratively to create artwork which promotes stewardship of threatened natural areas in our region
  • Northstar Watermedia Society 4th Annual National Juried Exhibition – featuring the work of members from the oldest Watermedia Society in Minnesota
  • 2018 Members’ Exhibition

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. WBCA annually serves 22,000 people. WBCA draws participants from 160+ 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 2018, approximately 180 volunteers contributed more than 2000 hours to WBCA!


Chair: Alan Kantrud
Vice Chair: Kim Ford
Treasurer: Sara Nephew
Secretary: Alex Legeros
Ex-Officio Director: Nor Olson

Judith Benham
Donna Bruhl
Mitch Cooper
Katherine Curran
Jazi Foreman
Cindy Ihlenfeld
Damalie Jeffries
Karen Kepple
Peter Kramer
Karl Sevig
Mark Shavlik
Bon Sommerville
Bill Weigel
Steve Wolgamot

Emeritus Directors
Sue Ahlcrona
Robert Cuerden
Mary Gove
Roberta Johnson
Mary Levins

Current year board members are listed here.


Arts Education: 45%
Contributions: 36%
Grants: 11%
Membership Revenue: 5%
Community Programs & Art Sales: 3%
Other: <1%

Program Services: 77%
Management and General: 15%
Fundraising: 8%

Forms 990

2016 Form 990
2017 Form 990
2018 Form 990

Financial Statements

12/31/2016 Financial Statements
12/31/2017 Financial Statements
12/31/2018 Financial Statements

Past Annual Reports

2015 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report


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