Lac du Flambeau’s new Living Arts and Culture Center received a major boost last week when the USDA announced that the project will receive $88,000 in funds to promote economic growth, support rural business development and create jobs.
The center was one of 48 projects selected for the award, which provides training and technical assistance to program managers for artistic program planning and development.
Project planners will use the funds for a unique “train-the-trainers” initiative. Patricia O’Neil, executive director of Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, said the money will be used to conduct eight planning workshops to build capacity for artistic programming, business planning, and other needed training. An estimated 100 individuals are expected to participate.
“This funding provides the community with a unique opportunity to build the capacity needed to create an artistic center of excellence, that both preserves an endangered culture and provides a regional tourism draw,” O’Neil said.
“Nothing like this has been developed in this tribal community in the past, so operational staff and the new board of directors for the tribal corporation will be seeking training.”
“We see this as another endorsement of the community’s vision for the future,” Georgine Brown, president of the WaasWaaGaning Indian Bowl Board of Directors, said.
“This is going to build momentum for the project,” she added.
In his June 12 announcement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that the grants “will bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of regional organizations to help small and emerging businesses.”
He added, “They also will help organizations experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents across the country.”
“On behalf of the Indian Bowl Board of Directors, we are happy to participate in this opportunity to rebuild the Indian Bowl,” Brown stated. “We think it can enhance not only our local community but also the surrounding areas and enable us all to draw more visitors to the North woods.”
The Lac du Flambeau Living Arts and Culture Center will be attached to and expand the George W. Brown Ojibwe Museum. The ambitious $3.1 million project includes space for performing arts, theater and dance, artist business incubation, and education and preservation of endangered arts and practices. More than $778,000 has been raised to date.
This community facility and economic development effort will be the cornerstone to the downtown development of Lac du Flambeau, and provide regional benefit to Woodland Tribes residing in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Canada and have a regional impact to the tourism economy.
Northwoods NiiJii Enterprise Community (NNEC) is a unique partnership among three Native American Tribes and eight municipal partners in rural northern Wisconsin. It includes three northern Wisconsin Tribes (the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Sokaogon Mole Lake Chippewa Community, and the Menominee Nation) and eight developable site partners (including the Towns of Shawano, Arbor Vitae, Woodruff, Minocqua, Lac du Flambeau, Manitowish Waters, Boulder Junction and Nashville).
As a HUD Sustainable Community, NNEC is eligible for unique funding opportunities. The new Lac du Flambeau Living Arts and Culture Center is part of NNEC’s strategic plan.