White Bear Center for the Arts

Creating Community Through Art

aka WBCA   |   White Bear Lake, MN   |  www.whitebearartcenter.com


WBCA enhances and enriches the cultural life and literacy in the community by promoting and providing high quality programs and services in fine and related arts, and facilities and faculty for artists.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Suzi Hudson

Main address

4971 Long Avenue

White Bear Lake, MN 55110 USA

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NTEE code info

Arts Council/Agency (A26)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Arts Classes

White Bear Center for the Arts offers over 900 classes each year through its network of 120 professional teaching artists. All ages and abilities are welcome to take classes spanning a broad variety of arts disciplines, media, and traditions, access that is made possible by generous donor support and businesses throughout the community. Tuition for arts classes would more than double without contributions, and the art center's open scholarship fund continues to grow, supporting the equivalent of over 1100 class hours annually.

Population(s) Served
Age groups
People with disabilities
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Percent of total participants who learn, grow, or change

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Families, People with disabilities, Economically disadvantaged people, Artists and performers

Related Program

Arts Classes

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

For nearly a decade, the Minnesota State Arts Board has required its operating support grantees to measure and report how its dollars affect learning, growth, and change among participants.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

White Bear Center for the Arts Vision, 2025:

White Bear Center for the Arts is a diverse and growing community widely known for enriching lives, nourishing imagination and building understanding through art. Embodying hospitality, quality and respect for all, it is a dynamic and inspiring center where all are welcome to celebrate art, connect with their creativity and connect with one another.

The Center has garnered national attention, attracting celebrated artists, receiving an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, featured in prominent publications and generously supported in ways that have assured its sustainability.

White Bear Center for the Arts is an exciting destination with a campus featuring facilities, attractions and programs that serves as a magnet for visitors from far and wide. It is a hub of activity called “White Bear’s treasure” by many; the city of White Bear is coming to be known as “White Bear, a center for the arts.”

Most notably the Center has preserved what made it special since its beginning: a welcoming, caring, passionate and creative community. More people of all ages and cultures proudly call White Bear Center for the Arts “My Center.”

1. Embed the White Bear Center for the Arts further in the community through community arts programs, increasing awareness of the Center and new or enhanced relationships with community segments and organizations.
2. Increase engagement of under-represented community segments, including next generation artists and supporters and those who can broaden the diversity of Center arts experiences.
3. Be a proactive participant that facilitates collaborative development of the White Bear Arts District, resulting in facilities, design and experiences that make the District and White Bear Center for the Arts a regional destination.
4. Generate sufficient financial resources to fund WBCA’s strategic goals and operations, and to assure the Center’s financial sustainability well into the future.
5. Assure a Board and staff infrastructure that is aligned with the Center’s vision, strategic goals and operating requirements.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Approximately 20,000 people are served by White Bear Center for the Arts each year, and of those 6500 are school-aged youth. Three quarters of participants live in the East Metro region of the Twin Cities, Minnesota and about half live in Ramsey county. Made possible by moving into its first building in 2013, participation has more than doubled over the last decade. Over 50 annual outreach programs help the arts reach people that otherwise face barriers accessing arts experiences. The art center partners with a variety of community and service organizations to provide custom opportunities by professional artists to people of all abilities and generations.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email, Teaching artist feedback,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The art center's current 2020-2025 strategic plan was formed through more than a thousand hours of time in focus groups and interviews accompanied surveys of hundreds of art center members, collected over a 9-month period in 2019. Led by both the Board of Directors and the organization's staff and facilitated by an external consultant, this process helped the art center craft a vision for the next phase of the organization. It resulted in a new Mission Statement, organizational Core Values, a 2020-2025 Strategic Plan with five clearly defined goals, and a "Vision 2025" growth statement, as well as a shared consensus among the Board, staff, and broader community as to the direction and path ahead of the organization.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    From course participants to volunteers and artists, providing feedback has helped build relationships that keep people coming back to the art center, and feeling welcomed as part of the community. Founded by artists, the art center upholds an atmosphere of inclusion, welcomeness, respect, and positivity that makes it a special place for all sorts of people. Each year, about 96% of the hundreds of people surveyed report they learn, grow, or change because of their experience.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Some public environments are not amenable to data collection with sufficient detail,


White Bear Center for the Arts

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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White Bear Center for the Arts

Board of directors
as of 09/13/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Karen Kepple

Attorney, Minnesota School Districts

Term: 2020 - 2022

Judith Benham

3M (Retired)

Heidi Brophy

US Bank

Mary Poul

Wine Accents - CEO

Alan Kantrud

Attorney, White Bear Lake Conservation District

Jessie Aakre

Carrot Health

Nelly Chick

Saint Paul Port Authority

Mitch Cooper

Minnesota Association of School Professional Administrators

Guillermo Cuellar

Guillermo Cuellar Pottery; Art Reach St. Croix

Alison Gillespie

White Bear Lake Area Schools

Peter Kramer


Elizabeth McCray

Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

Mary Gove

Art Teacher (Retired)

Bob Hartzell

Business Owner

Bill Weigel

Business Owner

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/13/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/13/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.