Exciting developments in the arts are happening in Granite Falls! Monday evening the city council approved becoming a partner in a City Artist in Residency Program. The next step is to secure funding for this innovative project which would put Granite Falls on the arts map being the only town of its size with an official city artist program. Public Transformation artist, Ashley Hanson, in partnership with the city of Granite Falls, Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce, Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization and Granite Area Arts Council proposed a one-year artist residency program imbedding three artists in the city of Granite Falls for 3-4 months each to produce civic-engaged projects presented on Prentice Street. Starting as a one-year pilot project, the Granite Falls City Artist in Residence (CAIR) Program will be a one-of a kind experiment combining creative placemaking, community engagement, arts-based revitalization and civic life.

The program involves an eighteen-month, four-phase process (outlined below) which deeply involves local residents, artists and civic leaders in each step of the process. Ashley Hanson has been involved with Granite Falls in the past with Placebase Productions' walking theater projects. Since then, she has created "Public Transformation" which involves art in rural communities throughout the country. Her place- and issue-based work strives to reconnect individuals with their shared values - combining shared knowledge with collective action to move a community from “where they are” to “where they want to be.”

The Chamber will be hosting monthly Business Breakfasts beginning in March at Prairie's Edge Casino Resort, the date and time to be announced. Each month will feature a different presentation and a chance to network and discuss local issues. This is also a chance for members to discuss their ideas and concerns with the Chamber director and board members. If you have ideas for speakers or topics you would like to hear more about, contact the Chamber office at 320-564-4039.

Ole and Lena Days was a week of fun with Doug and Sharla Bengtson of Lighter Side Clowns as Ole and Lena. Their appearances throughout the town brighten up a week of winter. Thank you for the great job entertaining us!

Thank you to everyone who came out for the Chamber's Community Celebration on January 27. Roger Radley was hilarious and the food at The Rock was great! I would like to see more activities during Ole and Lena Days and now is the time to plan for next year.