the belief that the visual arts are indispensable to a healthy community, it is the mission of the
Minnetonka Center for the Arts to provide teaching excellence, quality exhibitions and cultural enrichment
for people of all ages, interests and abilities.
The Art Center
From its beginning, the Minnetonka Center for the Arts' purpose has been to help a diverse group of
Minnesotans - particularly families and children-make art a part of everyday life. We believe in the value
of art making and art appreciation. Art not only transforms materials-wet clay and paint, dry canvas and
dusty marble, molten bronze and gold-it transforms lives. We see it in children who go on to higher education in art; start doing better in school; gain self esteem from the experience of creating; and turn around troublesome behaviors and attitudes. We see it in adults who discover talents they never knew they had; enrich their lives after retirement; find new meaning in life despite debilitating illnesses; and become part
of a community where the common bonds are individual expression and love of beauty.
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 in someone's basement and see where it might lead. That was more than fifty years ago. 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. The Art Center still has the only publicly accessible foundry in the upper Midwest outside of a univer- sity setting.
In 1997, when a feasibility study showed that 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 $4.9 million
of the original estimate. By the time the building was finished, the construction costs had risen to
$6.3 million and the or- ganization 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 cuurent building. With 30% more room, spaces designed for their intended functions, and a secure, climate-controlled gallery space, we will serve our community even more professionally.