Holly Doll joins team at Department of Public Transformation

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune

The Department of Public Transformation in Granite Falls announced in December that two new employees will be joining the staff this month. Holly Doll will be joining the staff as the Ignite Rural Program Coordinator, and Sarina Otaibi will be joining the staff as the Creative Rural Building Program Director. The Department of Public Transformation (or DoPT), is an artist-led organization working to develop creative strategies for increased community connection, civic pride, and equitable participation in rural areas. 

Holly Doll will be collaborating with the DoPT team on program design, implementation, and be the point of contact and support for the cohort. Doll joins the collaborative with more than ten years of experience in arts and culture nonprofit work, with her experience specifically involving Native American artists. She is also one of the founders of a Native cooperative called Native Artists United, in which Doll engages in cultural education and teaches traditional beadwork and quillwork art classes. Most recently, Doll has had a hand in designing a granting program through the Waterers, focusing on radicalizing philanthropy to create a better financial support system for BIPOC artists and culture bearers. In addition to all of that, Doll has approximately 25 years of experience in creating art. 

Holly Doll.

Doll, who lives in Mandan, North Dakota, decided to apply for the position after seeing the job announcement because of her awareness of the work the DoPT has been doing in rural Minnesota. “Aside from knowing of the amazing work the DoPT has already been doing, what instantly pulled me toward it was how supportive to the artists it is. It’s flexible, understanding and willing to meet artists and culture bearers where they’re at, not expecting them to conform to a strict funding program,” Doll says. “It’s designed to be an opportunity, not an expectation. I also love that it’s geared toward BIPOC artists and culture bearers, as that’s what my past and current have always focused on.”

Doll says the most interesting aspect of her new position is how small the cohort is. “With a four-member cohort, it gives space for better relationship and trust-building, and gives me more flexibility in designing parts of the program,” she says. “Working more closely with the artists to figure out what type of support is most helpful to them, and my attention and energy isn’t spread too far out. The artists can get what they need from me.”

Doll expects the most challenging aspect to be working virtually. “Despite being thankful that I can work remotely since the pandemic started, I’ve had moments of taking a deep breath and thinking this would be so much easier in person,” she says.

If anyone is interested in contacting Doll, her bio and a clickable link to her email are available on the DoPT website. “I’m extremely excited and humbled to join the DoPT and expand my work into Southwestern Minnesota,” Doll says. 

New DoPT employee Sarina Otaibi will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Advocate Tribune.