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Small towns harvest big rewards from focus on the arts

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More and more watercolors and Handel's Water Music are mixing with the iconic water towers in Minnesota's rural towns with an economic payback.

The Star Tribune focuses in on how the state's Legacy Amendment, the Constitutional dedicated arts fund, is boosted by private foundations to grow a healthy crop of music, theater and visual arts throughout the state. Projects include artist grants in Fergus Falls, to a major gift to produce an 'arts campus' in the quaint, quirky Lanesboro. Arts supporters say the push helps recruit and keep residents and nurtures the small towns' economies.

USDA Senior Projects Advisor Chris Beck says Minnesota is 'arguably the nation's model in terms of rural philanthropy.' He recently gave a shout-out to Minnesota, calling last month's Rural Arts Summit in Morris, 'a remarkable gathering.'

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