ROSEMOUNT - Each year Rosemount Area Arts Council produces concerts, live theatre, classes and outreach programs that educate, entertain and inspire the community.

Rosemount City Council member Jeff Weisensel said RAAC is responsible for producing arts programming that leads to a tremendous economic impact in the Rosemount area that can account for $2 to $3 million.

"It is quite impactful for Rosemount and an opportunity for our residents to get involved in our community," Weisensel said.

At its Jan. 15 meeting, Rosemount City Council approved a 2019 joint powers agreement with RAAC. This agreement allows RAAC to host events at the outdoor city Central Park amphitheater and The Steeple Center in Rosemount.

Dan Schultz, Rosemount parks director, said the city has been a part of the joint powers agreement for 11 years. RAAC was founded nine years as an arts group that uses the city parks and facilities to host year-round productions, public events and activities.

"We had a busy year last year serving over 6,000 people and they were served by volunteer hours of 9,678," Jeanne Schwartz, president of RAAC said.

The national average for volunteer hours is 33 hours. The total of 9,678 volunteer hours translates to about 55 hours each for the entire RAAC membership.

"The dollar value of those volunteer hours based on the independent sector would come to $238,949 and that is a full-time equivalent or staff of five people," Schwartz said.

Each year RAAC produces the music and acts for the Bluegrass festival, ArtBlast, JazzBlast, Christmas at the Steeple Center, and many joint partnerships with the Friends of the Library with Robert Trail Library.

The two local theatre groups, The Front Porch Players and The Second Act Players are part of the RAAC's programming that produces many plays and musicals at The Steeple Center. The group also works in tandem to produce free shows with the Rosemount Community Band.

RAAC works to coordinate monthly art events and artist's displays on two floors of The Steeple Center. The group will also coordinate artwork displayed in cases on the second floor of City Hall.

In 2018, RAAC planned 82 events in Rosemount and 46 events were free to the community.

In 2019, Schwartz said the RAAC board and volunteers are on target to meet and exceed past year's events and entertainment numbers.

"We really appreciate our relationship with the city and we could not have done any of this work had it not been for this service agreement, and our ability to operate out of the Steeple Center and the Central Park amphitheater," Schwartz said.

RAAC has also created a new partnership with The Loft, a premier writing organization in the state, Schwartz said.

Rosemount City Council member Paul Essler said he would like to leverage more volunteer hours for the city and he appreciates the work RAAC does.

"What I would like to do is work with the parks and rec and recognize other organizations that do a lot for the community and the residents of Rosemount," Essler said. "My passion is leveraging the volunteers in the community because that will take a lot off the City Council payroll with the work they do."

RAAC is always looking for new members and volunteers. To learn more, visit www.rosemountarts.com.