Winona Arts Center

A nonprofit organization

23 donors

11% complete

$20,000 Goal

Supporting the Arts in the Winona Community.

The Winona Arts Center is celebrating 60 years of providing a venue for the Arts in Winona in 2022 and we are pleased to offer a retrospective of art that has been exhibited in the Center from 1962 through 2022.  Over the years, the member owned and operated Arts Center has been an important venue for the arts in our community – visual art, music, film and the spoken word. We look forward to the next 60 years

Our Mission

The Winona Arts Center is a creative network committed to increasing community awareness of the arts by featuring the works of artists. It provides an intimate and unique space for performances, exhibits, and other media, and encourages public participation by providing classes and workshops for children and adults.

Over 60 Years in the Winona Community

Founded in 1956, the Arts Center has a colorful history. After seven women spent the summer of 1956 painting and enjoying art together, they got the city council's approval to rent the lodge on Lake Winona so they could continue to meet during winter months.

In those early days they called themselves the Winona Art Group, painting together every Tuesday and Thursday and holding exhibits at Lake Park Lodge and the Winona Public Library. Edward Korpela, a well-known local artist and art teacher at the high school, offered suggestions and encouragement to the small group. At the time, the Winona Art Group was the only organization besides the universities and schools in Winona to offer art related classes.

In 1962, the group purchased a place of their own,  the former German Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Fifth and Franklin Streets.  Built in 1864, it is the oldest extant wooden church building in southern Minnesota - possibly the whole state! Over the years many improvements have been made to the structure as it evolved from a clubhouse to a first-rate arts space.

 When the group became a nonprofit organization in the early 1960's the organization was known as the Winona Art Center but as their programming and classes expanded to include other art forms the name was changed to the Winona Arts Center (WAC).  In 1978, the former church sanctuary turned gallery was dedicated in honor to one of the original seven founding women, Frances Prentiss Lucas, for her continued devotion to arts and the community. Currently the Center features the Frances Prentiss Lucas Gallery that offers opportunities for local artists to share their work with the community. Exhibits from local and regional artists are offered year round. The Don Nelson Screening Room offers a wide selection of foreign and independent films through the Winona Film Society. The Center also houses the Riverbed Press. This Conrad Etching press is available for experienced printmakers to use for a nominal fee and printmaking classes are offered as well. 

In 2016 the Center began a capital campaign , "Give the Arts a Lift", to make the building ADA compliant and the art inside accessible to all. Through generous donations from community members, area businesses and grants, $194,000 was raised. Construction on an accessible entrance and lift began in the Fall of 2020 and was completed in summer 2021.

On September 12, 2021, the Winona Arts Center, now fully accessible, opened its doors for the first time in 18 months. The grand opening was part of the newest exhibit, Art In the Time of Covid. This exhibit, made possible through funds appropriated through the MN Legislature from the arts and cultural heritage fund, reflected on how people used the arts to deal with the isolation of the pandemic. Paintings ,drawings, photographs, sculpture, poems, poetry, music and sewing are all part of the exhibit. The Center continue to offer exhibits from Fall through Spring 

The Winona Arts Center is all volunteer based with no paid staff. The Board of Directors has developed a schedule featuring independent and foreign films, a fall music series featuring local and regional musicians and space for area artists to work and collaborate. Funding for the Center comes primarily through memberships, grants and patrons. However, the Center activities are open to all in Winona and the surrounding area. 

Organization Data


Organization name

Winona Arts Center

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education


228 E 5TH ST
WINONA, MN 55987



Social Media