About Us

ArtReach of Red Wing is a 501(c)3 non-profit organizations whose mission is to promote creativity and provide quality visual arts opportunities to people of all ages and abilities.  We envision a community connected through the healing power of art, and strive to provide diverse art experiences in a comfortable and encouraging atmosphere.

Through our community programs and partnerships with other local social-profit agencies, ArtReach is able to serve more than 1000 people each year.  ArtReach is a pioneer in innovative, community-focused programming such as monthly Free Art Days for children, affordable continuing ed art classes for adults, summer arts camp, open studio time for aspiring artists, and our partnerships to provide healing art experiences for local support groups.


 ArtReach’s Core values:

  • We believe that creative expression is a fundamental need of all people.
  • We believe that creating art helps the artist discover something positive about themselves.
  • We believe that creative art experiences are important and must be available for all members of our community.

ArtReach Anti-Discrimination Policy

ArtReach is committed to creating a safe space in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Staff, volunteers, and clients have the right to be free from discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. ArtReach prohibits any such discrimination or harassment. ArtReach encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Individuals who believe that they have been the victim of such conduct should discuss their concerns with an ArtReach staff or board member.



ArtReach History

ArtReach was founded in Red Wing, MN in 2000 by Carol Sweasy to provide art therapy programs for individuals along with public class offerings by local artists. The new organization was funded primarily by the Sweasy Family Foundation. From 2001 through 2005, with continued primary funding from the Sweasy Foundation, ArtReach gradually reduced emphasis on public classes and focused primarily on programs for at-risk populations of adults and children.

In 2006, following the retirement of executive director Carol Sweasy, the Sweasy Family Foundation funding expired. Despite the loss of this major supporter, ArtReach continued to provide three key programs (Kids Count, Youth Outreach, and Haven of Hope art groups) through the support of local foundations and private donations.

In 2007, the ArtReach board worked with Jones Consulting to develop a strategic plan and reshape the organization’s business model. As a result, ArtReach redefined its mission, began to focus on outreach to the social service sector, added a new program for seniors, and hired a new director and volunteer coordinator. Through 2008, with program-specific funding from the United Way and Red Wing Area Fund as well as supplemental support from individual donors and energetic fundraising by board and staff, ArtReach continued its existing programs, added new ones, and operated in the black. The majority of programming continued to be free for participants with fees charged to those human service organizations directly contracting with ArtReach for services to their clients.

However, by 2009, although program participation remained solid, overall foundation, individual, and business support declined in the face of the economic recession. While program participation remained high, ArtReach began reducing salaries and other costs though dedicated paid staff still chose to volunteer some of their time. Ultimately, however, lack of income forced the board to lay off both of its paid staff members and discontinue three programs. The decision was made to retain three programs only and the board picked up responsibility for operating the organization and deciding whether ArtReach had a future.

From late 2009 through December 2010, the board was very active in keeping ArtReach’s program operating, reached out to stakeholders in order to assess community appetite for ArtReach’s continued services, fundraised, strengthened the board, and learned essential new nonprofit management skills. In early January 2010, ArtReach was awarded was awarded a capacity-building grant from the Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Project, a partnership between the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Fairview Health Services, the Otto Bremer Foundation, Marbrook Foundation, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. As a grantee, ArtReach received financial management, fundraising, board development, community engagement, and other skill-building and coaching support from SteppsUp, a Red Wing nonprofit capacity-building collaboration between Fairview Red Wing Health Services, the Jones Family Foundation, the Red Wing Area Fund, and the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha, and Pierce Counties.

In May 2010, the board decided to develop a business plan that included hiring a part-time Program Director. In December of 2010, Emily Nelson was hired. At this time, ArtReach was only providing art groups once per month to the Haven of Hope battered women’s support group. Programming was expanded to include a monthly free art project for youth and various community classes. The community was very responsive to the new programming being offered to the public.

By the summer of 2012, it was apparent that ArtReach was in need of an additional staff member to assist in teaching classes, and Kristin Bray was hired on part-time as the Program and Volunteer Coordinator. In the winter of 2012, ArtReach was awarded a major grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and was awarded grants from the Xcel Energy Foundation in 2012, 2013, 2014. This allowed for further expansion of free and reduced-cost programming to the public, as well as various new partnerships with local service providers and other non-profit organizations who shared similar missions with ArtReach. ArtReach expanded its offerings to include a monthly $5 art project for kids as well as classes for teens and adults.

Anna Ostendorf was hired to replace Emily Nelson as the part-time Program Director in March 2015 and was increased to nearly full-time in March 2017. Throughout 2015 and 2016 ArtReach increased programs for seniors in assisted living and for teens. ArtReach also expanded its community engagement through increased partnerships with other local nonprofits and events.

Art Reach again received grants from the Xcel Energy Foundation in 2015, 2016, and 2017. ArtReach was awarded a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), from the Wings Foundation, and from the Red Wing Housing & Redevelopment Authority in 2016.

More about ArtReach Staff and Board of Directors

ArtReach Privacy Policy

ArtReach Online Registration Terms & Conditions


ArtReach Funding

We are able to keep our classes affordable (or often free) thanks to the generosity of individual donors like you and grants from Xcel Energy, the WINGS Foundation, the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, and the Red Wing HRA.

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift today to keep Arts Programming available in our community. THANK YOU!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.