Article posted by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
What a great idea!
Winona community leaders and businesses are drawing both attention and tourists with a weekend of community arts and outdoor events. That may not be surprising. But what makes this weekend unique is that each event demonstrates the impact of the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota voters in 2008.
Winona’s “Legacy Weekend” is being organized by the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF), in partnership with the Winona County Historical Society, conservation partners and Visit Winona for July 23-24, 2010.
“Winona has both great outdoors and arts opportunities made possible, in part, by Legacy grants, and we thought it would make a fun weekend to combine them to give people access to all of the great things happening with the Amendment in Winona,” said Laurie Flanigan-Hegge, GRSF Advancement and Community Development Director. “It’s a positive thing for our area.”
The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment created new resources for land conservation, water conservation, parks and arts. The state agencies given responsibility to manage these funds by the state legislature have just completed the first year of grants made possible by the amendment.
The weekend features a series of arts and historical events put on by organizations that have received grants from the Legacy amendment. (For more times, dates, and locations go to VisitWinona.com):
· The Great River Shakespeare Festival is offering four productions over three days; The Comedy of Errors, Othello, The Daly News, and It Goes Without Saying, with both afternoon and evening shows available, at the Winona State University performing Arts Center at 125 Mark St.
· The Great River Shakespeare Festival is also offering FREE outdoor family friendly concerts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. These events are made possible, in part, by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Culture Fund.
· Theatre du Mississippi, also a grantee of the Minnesota State Arts Board from Amendment funds, is offering “Drops and Drama” at the old Masonic Temple at 255 Main Street, featuring historic 1909 hand painted theatre backdrops presented with great music and dramatic readings. A truly unique experience! (Sat. at 1).
· It’s opening weekend for the Winona County Historical Society’s new museum wing in the History Center downtown (160 Johnson, St., Winona, Fri. 9-5, weekends 12-4). The Bunnell House, an outstanding example of Gothic architecture (on highway 61 at Homer, 10-5 Fri. & Sat., 1-5 Sun.) and the Arches Museum of Pioneer Life, a furnished log home, barn and school house from the 1860s (located between Stockton and Lewiston, 1-5 all three days) will be open for tours. The History Center alone has three floors of exhibits. These events are made possible, in part, by a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Culture Fund.
· The Winona County History Center will also host Mike Kennedy on July 24 at 1 p.m. He will give a talk on the lives of conservationist Will Dilg and philanthropist John Latsch in Wanek Hall.
The weekend also features outdoor activities that demonstrate the local uses of Amendment funds:
· The Winona Park Recreation Department will offer FREE canoeing and kayaking on East Lake Winona. The boats are housed at Lake Lodge, which is at the foot of Main Street. (Fri. 4-8, Sat. 8-8, Sun. 8-2). This event draws attention to the new state water testing regimen funded by the Legacy Amendment. With limited funding, many waters in our state, including Lake Winona, have not been tested or cleaned up if polluted. With the new Legacy dollars, every lake and river will now be tested once every 10 years so that clean up plans can be developed and implemented wherever needed.
· The FREE Huck Finn Family Fest will be held on Saturday, July 24 from 10 to 1 along the Mississippi River, (by the Marine Art Museum) and will offer free fishing lessons for the kids provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There will also be kid’s educational activities “How to Identify Snakes in our Area” and “Stream Tables: Create a Miniature River Basin”, offered by the DNR and Winona State University Geology Dept, respectively. The activity highlights work being done with Legacy dollars upstream where clean up plans for the Lake Pepin and St. Criox River watersheds are currently being developed. If implemented successfully, this work will have dramatic impacts on river water quality in Winona and beyond.
· A FREE self-guided scenic tour of bluffs in Winona and the surrounding area show the benefits of $500,000 in new Legacy funding that the Minnesota Land Trust will use to permanently protect similar landscapes along the nearby Root River. Visitors can take a walk to visit Sugarloaf Bluff in Winona’s Memorial Park or go 12 miles south to Great River State Park to experience King’s Bluff and Queen’s Bluff. Each of these bluffs and the valuable wildlife habitat they contain have been previously protected and preserved through state and local efforts.
· Fifty FREE tickets to the Great River Shakespeare Festival shows will be available at local libraries on a first come, first serve basis.
Coincidentally, Columbus replica ships the Pinta and Nina will also land in Winona’s Levee park over this same weekend. The ‘Nina” was built completely by hand without the use of power tools, and Archeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced ‘sailing museum’ for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the ‘caravel,’ a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world.
The Great River Shakespeare Festival is currently in its seventh season. The result of a unique collaboration between Festival founding directors, civic and business leaders, corporations, foundations, individual donors, and a 300-plus member strong volunteer organization, the Festival has attracted over 60,000 attendees since its 2004 inaugural season. In addition to its professional company productions, GRSF offers free weekend concerts (co-produced with Theatre du Mississippi), a host of education and community outreach events, and this season, its first non-Shakespearean production, the new WWII musical, The Daly News. Call for tickets: 507-474-7900.