Lanesboro named top ‘small town art place’

It’s pretty common knowledge that Lanesboro, Minnesota is home to a lot of art.

It’s main street is home to both the Commonweal Theatre and a number of galleries. This despite having a population of just 800.


Downtown Lanesboro

Photo for MPR by Alex Kolyer

But today the national organization ArtPlace has declared Lanesboro one of the top 12 “small town artplaces” in the nation.

The ranking is based on the concentration of arts organizations, arts-oriented businesses and creative occupations. The other small town winners are:

Eureka Springs, AR

Crested Butte, CO

Ketchum, ID

Vineyard Haven, MA

Boothbay Harbor, ME

Highlands, NC

Taos, NM

Marfa, TX

Stowe, VT

Eastsound, WA

Saratoga, WY

Earlier this year ArtPlace recognized the top twelve “artplaces” in major cities around the country, focusing on particularly vibrant neighborhoods.

  • John Levell

    Too bad the negative impacts these activities have on local economies, as well as directly to select long time area residents, are not examined in these pieces ever. Are we expected to believe that this topic, unlike every other, has only pros and no cons to discuss? I suppose all us hicks from the sticks lack the sophistication needed to determine what exactly constitutes “art” without some serious education from the self appointed Maestros who seek to ram their conception of “artistic” down our collective throats on a daily basis. We are likewise expected to believe that the ever increasing erosion of our quality of life via the often rude, privacy invading antics of both staff and patrons of these establishments, as well as the obvious devaluation neighboring properties are subjected to, is acceptable simply because it forwards the “Arts” agenda. Knowing the survival of such entities is largely dependent on corporate and government subsidies, rather than via funding earned the good old fashioned way, makes this all quite difficult to accept indeed. Little wonder that I view the artwork of La Grotte de Lascaux as the finest ever conceived.

  • Neal Olive

    Dear John Levell,

    Then you should move.

  • Gunnar Berg

    I own a cottage in Lanesboro. I remember Lanesboro before the bike trail and the arts came to town. It was dying a rapid death. The mainstreet was lined with empty storefronts. I’m sorry this makes Mr. Levell unhappy, but I would not be there spending my money.and paying my taxes without those arts that are dragging down the quality of his life,

  • Robbie Brokken

    I’m sorry that John Lavell feels the way he does. Sometimes folks find it difficult to see the positive side. I”m one of those folks that works here in Lanesboro and speaking for my co-workers, I feel very confident saying that everyone here is ultra nice and very down to earth. We all work very very hard to bring the benefits of art to our beautiful community. I’d say that Mr. Lavell is definately in the minority.

    I’ve never seen a town that works so well together in partnerships and bringing dreams to a reality with the very best of intentions.

    We are so proud of hour honor. Thanks to all that support the Arts.