Published July 1, 2019

The Grand Marais Art Colony (GMAC) announced a major expansion in downtown Grand Marais’s former North Shore Pharmacy building.

The $500,000 development project will begin this summer and expand the nonprofit’s studio and public space by more than 5,000 square feet, according to Thursday’s announcement. GMAC currently occupies a former mission church, built in 1916, locally known as ‘Founders Hall’ that serves as a multi-purpose studio and the CC Graham Studio building, built in 2005, that has studios for glass, clay and printmaking.

The expansion will involve the North Shore Pharmacy Building, formerly the Arrowhead Pharmacy, located at 21 W Hwy 61. “We have worked over the past decade to grow our programs, our infrastructure, and our staff. And we’ve found that our artistic community has responded with increased interest and engagement. This includes both our local community as well as non-local members who consider us their creative home, many who have been coming here annually for thirty or more years. We are now operating our current facility at 125% and we look forward to having the opportunity to expand our mission in a physical way, increasing access to the arts.” said Ruth Pszwaro, Artistic Director of GMAC.

The project, which involves private and public funding, will be carried out in several phases, explained Lyla Brown, GMAC’s Executive Director. “To date, members of the Board of Directors and twelve other donors have pledged nearly $85,000. Additional grant funds towards acquisition costs are pending. Our intent is that the new GMAC facilities will open in the first half of 2020 and include new studios, exhibition space, a small but state-of-the-art gallery store, and a potential community gathering space.”

GMAC’s current buildings at 120 3rd Ave W, will remain classroom and studio space, although reconfigured. The administrative offices of the organization will also remain at the current location.

The former Dog Hus property at 17 W Hwy 61 will be rented to an independent entity and, contingent on how and when GMAC programs evolve, eventually converted into a studio space.

The Grand Marais Art Colony is the longest-lived art colony in the state of Minnesota; it began in 1947 as a summer refuge for artists seeking to study in an inspiring natural setting and became a 501(c)3 in 1984. It currently serves over 25,000 people every year.

To be successful, GMAC invites broad support.

To learn how you can assist the Grand Marais Art Colony in this ambitious undertaking, or to make a donation, contact Kathi Polley, Development Manager, at 218.387.2737 or through