“Seasonal Saturdays” attendees at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

“It was so great to attend a low-cost, low-barrier community event.”
– “Seasonal Saturday” attendee

Minnesota Marine Art Museum received a $5,000 Cycle 2 Community Grant from the Winona Community Foundation in 2021. This grant supported “Seasonal Saturdays,” a quarterly program providing $1 admission, arts materials, activities, demonstrations, and transportation.

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum had the goal of maintaining the Seasonal Saturdays local access program through and beyond the pandemic. The organization reported two major outcomes for Seasonal Saturdays:

Outcome 1: Seasonal Saturdays reduced barriers to and increased participation in the museum for Winonans with admission reduced to $1, free transportation provided by City of Winona’s Dial-A-Ride, free art-making materials and activities, free curated gallery tours, artist demonstrations, live music in the galleries, and all staff in attendance.

Seasonal Saturdays offered accessible fun art activities to people of all ages and backgrounds. Not only did it sustain this local access program with take-home art activity kits during pandemic restrictions, but it reopened again to in-person Saturdays as of March 2022.

Outcome 2: Winona individuals and families experience a curated, fun, relaxing introduction to the fine arts.

Winona individuals and families were reportedly overjoyed to return to in-person activities in 2022. With another grant’s support MMAM was able to welcome Hmong traditional artists: a needleworker and a Qeej (flute) player. This was in theme with MMAM’s Hmong gallery exhibition: Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America. The May 2022 Seasonal Saturday featured fine paper cutting demonstrations by exhibition artist, Sonja Peterson. Her exhibition of large, intricate cut-paper artworks stops people in their tracks and catches their breath. It is very popular with visitors.

50% stated that the $1 admission motivated them a great deal,

17% stated that the $1 admission motivated them a lot

85% of respondents thought the day made arts more available to all/more people

65% stated it was very likely that they would return to the museum

70% stated they are likely to tell a friend to visit the museum

The museum has been providing local art access days since 2018. The days were co-created with community input, and MMAM continues to solicit community input in the design. Initially, the access Saturdays were scheduled monthly while keeping in mind that the museum would measure and evaluate this programming for long-term planning. Over the years, to find a sustainable level of Seasonal Saturdays, they were reduced to every other month, and now they are quarterly, which is a good fit for the museum and the community. MMAM aspires to sustain Seasonal Saturdays and deepen its community access program with creative placemaking projects in the near future.

“Thank you for making MMAM art available to the community through the adventure box. This was our first time receiving the activity box and we had a great time playing the game, talking about the amazing artwork and doing the art activity. It is clear a lot of work and preparation went into the presentation and the activities. The stickers, postcards, and directions were clear, colorful and easy to follow. The activities were engaging and appropriate for our whole family. We look forward to participating in a seasonal Saturday when they resume .”
– A “Seasonal Saturdays” take-home art-making activity parent in 2021.

To learn more about the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, please visit https://www.mmam.org/. 

An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. By doing so, a variety of interests are supported with the goal of helping local charities make a difference in the Winona area. Our community grants for nonprofits are broad and inclusive to meet the current community needs in the Winona area. Make a gift in support of the Community grant program to make a difference today.