The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) has moved to Hinckley.

Since 2011, ECRAC has been located in Braham, which was the geographic center of the region. Part of their decision to move to Hinckley was location. Mary Minnick-Daniels, executive director of ECRAC, explained that with  access from Highway 23 and Interstate 35 it made sense to move.

“We started feeling like Braham was a little off the beaten path,” Minnick-Daniels said.

The new office is located at 109 Weber Avenue in Tobies’ Mill. They are now occupying two offices where SCI Cable and the Convention and Visitors Bureau were formerly located. The space has been renovated to fit the council’s needs. Included in the renovation was a space to put the set of front doors from the Braham location which were made by Keith Raivo of Brook Park as part of a community art project funded by ECRAC.

About ECRAC

Established in 1979, the East Central Regional Arts Council is one of 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota.These councils were created so that arts funding could be distributed throughout the state instead of just the metro area. The council is a legislatively mandated grant recipient governed by the state of Minnesota. ECRAC serves the five county area of Pine, Kanabec, Isanti, Chisago and Mille Lacs.

Their office has three full-time employees consisting of, Minnick-Daniels, a grant program officer and the office manager.

As an office they work with grant applications. “Our grant application process is practically a science,” said Minnick-Daniels. ECRAC gives out approximately $300,000 in grants annually. The main thing, she said, is the funded projects must be arts related.

“The definition of arts is anything creativity related, such as painting, photography, playwriting, etc.,” said Minnick-Daniels.

The grant process starts with the application. Included with the application, the applicant will submit their art “resume” which includes explaining their project, their art experience and what the money will be used for, among other things.

Some local grantees include Sweet Summer Sounds in Hinckley, the Pine Center for the Arts in Pine City, the mural in the Train Park in Sandstone, and recently a project at the Paradise Theater in Mora.

ECRAC will be hosting an open house on Sept. 28 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to celebrate their new location and the 10-year anniversary of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Fund. The artwork in their permanent collection will be on display and a presentation will be made honoring the artists of that collection.

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