Phase 1 of Expansion Project Set to Begin

Published September 23, 2019

Grand Marais, MN – The Grand Marais Art Colony expansion project at 17 and 21 W Hwy 61 is moving forward and will begin major construction this winter. Staff and members of the organization’s board of directors are in the process of soliciting bids and hiring contractors for implementing Phase 1 of the project.

The Art Colony is grateful for the Grand Marais community’s support of the new programs and anticipated jobs the expansion will bring, and is working hard to make the buildings operational. Phase 1 is currently expected to be completed within the next 8 months.

Lyla Brown, Executive Director, explained, “Phase 1 of the expansion, during winter 2019 and spring 2020, will feature complete demolition and renovation of the interior of 17 W Hwy 61. Once rehabilitated, we look forward to leasing the space to a local business, most likely by summer

Also during Phase 1, as an interim measure, 21 W Hwy 61 will be used as project space for Artists-in-Residence. Up to three professional artists at a time will be able to rent studio space to explore or complete a project. One of those slots will be held for Cook County artists. This Phase is slated to continue until May 31, 2020.

Contingent on the acquisition of grant funding and support from major individual donors, the Grand Marais Art Colony will embark on Phase 2 of the $500,000 project, focused on creating flexible purpose-built space in 21 W Hwy 61. Ruth Pszwaro, Artistic Director, shared, “The engagement in our studios and programming has grown by over 400% over the past several years and we look forward to offering much-needed additional space and opportunities for artists”. The community is invited to attend one of three ideation sessions to learn more about the Art Colony’s Artistic Direction, visit the space, and provide input. These sessions will be at 21 W Hwy 61 and are scheduled for:

  • October 24 from 12 – 2 pm
  • October 26 from 10 am – 12 pm
  • October 29 from 4 – 6 pm

The Grand Marais Art Colony is the longest-lived art colony in the state of Minnesota and serves artists seeking to study in an inspiring natural setting. It was founded in 1947, became a 501(c)3 in 1984, and 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