Art money debate resurfaces at Grand Forks council

The Grand Forks City Council won’t be revisiting a vote it made two weeks ago that reaffirmed city art grants must be given only to groups with arts-based missions.

Council member Tyrone Grandstrand a motion to reconsider the vote but died for lack of second at the council’s meeting this past Monday night.

If the motion had passed, Grandstrand said he would have asked the matter be taken back to committee for additional discussion.

A motion to reconsider can only be made during the meeting that follows the initial vote.On Oct. 21, a council vote directed the North Valley Arts Council, which distributes the grant money for the city through its Art Re-grant Program, to strictly follow a program requirement saying applicants must have an arts-based mission.

That requirement has been interpreted loosely for several years and allowed non-art organizations to apply for and receive money for their art programs.

Following that decision, local artist Kim Wilson said she was “profoundly disappointed” by the council’s actions.

“There should be many opportunities for people to participate in the arts,” she told the Herald on Oct. 22.

The motion came after Wilson and others present at Monday’s meeting asked to know why the council voted to exclude the non-arts organizations from the program.

Council member Bret Weber said the council’s intention was not to exclude individuals, but to ensure the requirements are followed as written.

“We cannot make our decisions based on the passion of individual pleas,” he said.

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