Doors made by artist Keith Raivo were moved from Braham to Hinckley.


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. With access from Hwy. 23 and Interstate 35 it made sense, said Mary Minnick-Daniels, executive director of ECRAC. “We started feeling like Braham was a little off the beaten path.” 

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.

Established in 1979, the East Central Regional Arts Council is one of 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota. 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 trick, 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 Theatre in Mora . 

ECRAC will be hosting an open house on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 2 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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