The Minnetonka Center for the Arts was born out of the enthusiasm, confidence, creativity and determination of a small group of people who agreed to take a summer painting class and see where it might lead. That was in the early 1950’s. By the time it was incorporated on June 17, 1952, the Art Center had a reputation for quality programming on a shoestring budget.
For its first three decades, the Center thrived, outgrowing a series of rented spaces. In the early 1970’s, the community took a leap of faith in purchasing its first permanent home, the former Hill elementary school on North Shore Drive in Wayzata. The gymnasium became the main gallery, classrooms became studios and an art store. The organization added a painting studio, ceramics studio and sculpture studio with a metal pouring foundry.
In 1997, when a feasibility study showed the building was structurally unstable and even extensive renovations could not bring it up to current building codes or improve its functionality to an acceptable level, the community took an even larger leap of faith and started a capital campaign for funds to build a new building on the same site as the old one. They were warned that they could never raise the $4.5 million of the original estimate. By the time the building was finished, the project cost had risen to $6.3 million and the organization had raised all but $30,000.
On February 28, 2002, the last class was held in the old building. On March 4, 2002, classes started in the current building. With 30% more room, spaces designed for their intended functions and a secure, climate-controlled gallery space, the Art Center began a new chapter of service to the community.