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Koester '16 Partners with PRCA

Posted by Zak Threadgill '15, Anoka on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013

Jayce Koester ’16, Eagan, worked with the Center for Small Towns and the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance (PRCA) to organize summer arts programming for the Morris area. He was responsible for coordinating outreach activities and connecting local artists and community members to share knowledge and creativity.

Over the summer, Koester organized three garden-themed arts workshops, which provided painting, paint-making, poetry, and photography opportunities to the community. Koester also organized and ran a week-long summer arts camp for elementary students. Participants explored various media and applications of art, and the camp culminated in a short presentation for parents and community members. As a final project, Koester worked on a mask making workshop featuring Twin Cities-artists Julie and Gustabo Boada.

Koester commented that the most difficult part of the project was working with the community for the first time. “I didn't really know much about Morris as a larger community, and working for the PRCA really forced me to reach out to people beyond the campus.” He added that although working with the community felt foreign at first, he had a very positive experience from the project.

The mission of the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance is to advocate, promote, and coordinate arts, heritage, and cultural activities in Stevens County and the surrounding area by supporting the creativity of all people, welcoming and celebrating a variety of cultures and perspectives, weaving arts, culture, and heritage into the fabric of the community, and creating a physical place to see, do, and experience art, culture, and heritage. Additional information is available online at

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Their mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.

This project was partially supported by an operating support grant to the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

A puppet created during a summer workshop at the PRCA. Jayce Koester '16, Eagan, helped organize the event.