Ad Spot

Improving our area arts

In 2018, we took on a new name: Austin Area Arts. Each word tells you who we are and what we do.

Austin, the community in southeast Minnesota where our two physical sites are located.

Area, a 100-mile radius around Austin. Our closest neighbors — Albert Lea, Adams, Blooming Prairie, Lyle, Grand Meadow, Owatonna — know us best. Our aspirations extend much further.

Arts, expressions of human creativity including literature, performing arts and visual arts. Poetry and painting. Music, movies and mosaic. Sculpture and storytelling. Dance and drawing.

In 2018, Austin Area Arts offered three branches of arts programming: live entertainment and movies at the Historic Paramount Theatre, fine art exhibits, jam sessions and concerts, art education classes for all ages, studio space for artists, a retail space where over 100 artists sell original artwork at the Austin ArtWorks Center and the Austin ArtWorks Festival, an annual two-day celebration of the literary, performing and visual arts in the heart of downtown Austin.

These three program areas leverage the power of arts to improve lives and our community. But we can’t offer these programs without your help. We depend on volunteers and contributions to help quality arts programming.

I invite you to join us in leveraging the power of the arts to improve lives and the community in one or more ways. As a patron — attend a show at the Paramount or an art class at the ArtWorks Center, shop at the retail space, rent our spaces for private events. Go to for details. As a volunteer — give your time and talent in the role(s) of your choice in a no-guilt environment. Please contact Kelsey Ritchie at 507-434-0934 to learn more.

As a contributor — donations of cash or stock are greatly appreciated. Please consider including the arts in your estate planning. Learn more or give online at To discuss in-kind or multi-year donations, please contact me at 507-434-0934.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Wishing health and happiness to you and yours this holiday season.

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre

  • SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin and the Riverland Choir, 3:30 p.m., Dec. 16.
  • $5 Movie: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989), 3 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 26
  • $5 Movie: The Music Man (1962) on Wed Dec. 26 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.

Coming soon at the ArtWorks Center

  • A Collection of 3 Ornaments with Katie Stromlund: 6 p.m., Dec. 19
  • ABCs of Christmas: “Artwork, Beverages & Carols” with Riverland Choir, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 20