Funding Available for Community Story Projects in Otter Tail County

The Otter Tail County Story Mapping Project is a 10-month pilot project by Rethos: Places Reimagined in partnership with the Otter Tail County Historical Society and Springboard for the Arts. The purpose of this project is to collect and map the stories of Otter Tail County by engaging community members through small projects led by local organizations, historians, artists, students, businesses, etc.

Otter Tail County residents are invited to participate in community story workshops on January 30th and 31st, 2020, where they learn about story mapping, methods of gathering community stories, and project ideas ranging from one-on-one conversations to more creative and public projects.

●      Henning Landmark Center: 10 am -12:30 pm, Thursday, Jan. 30

●      New York Mills Cultural Center: 2 pm – 4:30 pm, Thursday, Jan. 30

●      Pelican Rapids Public Library: 10 am – 12:30 pm, Friday, Jan. 31

Following the workshops, participants will be eligible to apply for project funds ranging from $500 to $2,500 to implement a community story project between March and June 2020. The total project funds available from Rethos is $30,000. There will be two deadlines for project proposals, and they are February 20 and March 19, 2020. Rethos is working with three community partners, New York Mills Cultural Center, Henning Landmark Center, and the community of Pelican Rapids, to host the workshops and assist with project selection and story mapping.

While community story projects are in progress, Rethos will begin populating the story map. The map will be a local resource for Otter Tail County that may assist the following: economic development strategies, pathways to safeguarding heritage resources, future philanthropic investment, planning and other policy decisions and promotion, and partnerships and connections.

To register for a workshop, visit Registration is free and open to the public. For questions about registration, please contact Emily Kurash Casey at [email protected]. For questions about this project, please contact Sarina Otaibi, Rural Programs Manager at [email protected].

This project was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Local Community Story Mapping Contacts:


Dan Broten, Director

Henning Landmark Center


[email protected]

Pelican Rapids

Wayne Runnington

Community of Pelican Rapids

[email protected]

New York Mills

Betsy Roder, Executive Director

Cultural Center, New York Mills


[email protected]

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is a rural hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. We offer visitors intimate opportunities to encounter art and artists, and a variety of programs through which to learn, grow, and thrive. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.  

Project Partners

Rethos is the statewide, private non-profit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. Rethos was established in 1981 as the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota by citizens concerned about the loss of irreplaceable segments of our state’s heritage, structures, neighborhoods, and community fabric. Its mission is to “lead and inspire people to connect with historic places, promoting community vitality.” Main contact: Sarina Otaibi, Rural Programs Manager, [email protected].

Otter Tail County Historical Society is a private, nonprofit organization whose purpose is the collection, preservation and interpretation of Otter Tail County’s history and heritage. This is achieved through a variety of services including the Society’s exhibit gallery, educational outreach program, special public programs, archival and object collections, and a genealogical and local history research library. The development of these services has made the Society an active partner in the educational and cultural life of Otter Tail County. Main contact: Chris Schuelke, Executive Director, [email protected].

Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Springboard for the Arts’ mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life. Their work is about creating communities and artists that have a reciprocal relationship, where artists are key contributors to community issues and are visible and valued for the impact they create. They do this work by creating simple, practical solutions and systems to support artists. Those programs support their goal to help create a local culture movement. Main contact: Michele Anderson, Rural Program Director, [email protected].

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