HASTINGS, Minn. — On Monday, Hastings artists and art enthusiasts gathered to talk about the creation of an arts and culture study that will look at the city and the surrounding area.

Brenda Kayzar, PhD, is an urban, community and arts strategist. Currently, she is working in Hastings to create a study that looks at what art- and creative-based businesses, artists and organizations the city has, how that impacts the local economy, and what can be done to maintain the art community and set goals for growth.

“The idea behind the plan, really, is to say, ‘this is what you’ve got here, this is what people are saying, this is what they have, this is what they want,” Kayzar told the room of about 25 people.

A 2018 study that, according to Kayzar, used 2014 data, looked at 16 different art and culture organizations in Hastings. The findings showed that annually, the 16 organizations resulted in a $2.4 million impact on the local economy from the organizations spending money, people paying money to see various shows and events, and the money that people spend in the community while they are in town for events.

Kayzar’s study will be much larger. She explained on Monday that she is looking at 2019 data of arts and culture entrepreneurs, businesses and arts organizations. She located more than 170 individuals, groups and organizations that fit into that category.

“I bet there’s a lot of people in Hastings that don’t realize that this is such a hub of arts and cultural activity,” Kayzar stressed.

According to Dick Graham and Kathy O’Keefe, the past and current HPAAC president, respectively, the study is funded by a $25,000 grant from the St. Paul Foundation. Graham stressed that arts and economic development are not two separate entities; they go hand-in-hand as art leads to economic growth.

Kayzar is currently in the process of collecting feedback and information through a community survey that asks locals about their involvement in various art activities and thoughts about Hastings, as well as what they think would help grow the arts community. The main goal of Monday’s meeting was to discuss how art is involved and can be grown in five areas:

  • Hastings and the surrounding area’s distinctive identity

  • An enriched physical environment

  • The creative economy

  • Lifelong arts learning

  • Access

While the study is scheduled to be released in the coming months, the study itself is not the end goal.

“An ultimate goal would be that eventually the city of Hastings itself would adopt a plan or help bring in a plan under their direction based on the information that’s in the community plan,” Kayzar said.