The Duluth Art Institute enriches daily life with dynamic, innovative visual arts programming that upholds excellence and promotes inclusive community participation.

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Exciting NEWS!

It is with great excitement the the DAI can announce that we secured our new gallery and admin space in Downtown Duluth!

Your new galleries will be in the Downtown US Bank Building with STUNNING views of Downtown Duluth and the historic hillside. 

We will be out of the Depot on April 30.

We hope to open the new space early June and will keep you updated on social media.  We look forward to celebrating with you and celebrating the Annual Member Show! 

The buildout and new walls are coming in at about $50,000. And thanks to you, we will meet this need. 

This move does, however, create a gap in funding for ongoing exhibitions and artist talks, and with grant funding cycles, we may be a year out with grant awards. We will host exhibitions, and we will provide support and marketing for the roster of upcoming artists, and we sure can use your help. The Depot Foundation has supported exhibitions with about $35,000. We no longer qualify for this funding. Exhibition programming costs about $200,000. We cover the rest with other foundation grants, art sales, and other revenues into the DAI. If you can continue to contribute through donation and membership, we sure would appreciate it. 

We know the rent expense and overhead will continue to stretch our budget. We value your dedication to the arts and want you to know your continued financial support will help alleviate the increase in expenses such as rent, utilities, and property insurance that comes with an unexpected move. Your gifts truly help support artists, arts learners, and the important place in the arts ecosystem the DAI fills.


DAI Downtown (US Bank Building)

130 West Superior Street

Suite 400

Duluth, MN 55802

We are excited to breathe new life into our beautiful Downtown. 

Programming in the DAI Lincoln Park Building continues uninterrupted. Follow us on our social medial channels to stay up to date and watch our progress. 


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DAI Press Conference 7/27/23

Duluth Art Institute response to County Selection Committee recommendation to reject 2024 lease proposal

St. Louis County Board meeting 8/1/23

Includes public & board comments, vote to accept County Selection Committee recommendation to reject DAI proposal, extension of DAI's 2023 lease to May 1, 2024


Duluth News Tribune  |  St. Louis County commissioners deliberate on Depot issues  |  September 6, 2023

"According to Chris Pinkert, assistant county attorney, the Duluth Art Institute's lease has been extended to May 1, 2024. The committee and board of commissioners rejected the DAI's proposal for its space in the Depot last month, resulting in the need for them to vacate."

Duluth News Tribune  |  St. Louis County Board votes to reject Duluth Art Institute proposal  |  August 1, 2023

"St. Louis County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve entering into negotiations for lease proposals of five St. Louis County Depot tenants and reject a proposal from the Duluth Art Institute.

The board added an amendment to the motion that allows the DAI more time to vacate the space at the Depot, moving the deadline from Jan. 1 to May 1."

Story also featured in the Duluth News Tribune Minute podcase, August 2, 2023. Listen here.

Duluth News Tribune  |  Local View: Booting art institute from Depot is just bizarre  |  July 30, 2023

"This space is necessary to artists here who wish to develop a professional career. Such professional careers are worth as much respect as those of, say, miners or airplane assemblers: The nonprofit arts and culture sector generates more than $1 billion in total economic impact annually in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota State Arts Board, half of this outside of the Twin Cities. St. Louis County has a higher percentage of working artists in its population than any other county in the state, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts determined."

Star Tribune  |  After 50 years, Duluth Art Institute could be leaving its home at historic Depot  |  July 29, 2023

"A selection committee has recommended that St. Louis County reject the arts organization's proposal for a lease extension."

FOX 21  |  Duluth Art Institute May Be Forced to Move  |  July 26, 2023

"The Executive Director of the Duluth Art Institute says the art organization was a charter tenant of the building. She says if it is forced to move by the end of the year there will be problems. Those issues would start at the end of the year when the Gallery has a two-month exhibit scheduled to begin in December and runs through January."

WDIO  |  Duluth Art Institute may have to leave The Depot  |  July 24, 2023

"'It is regrettable that the County fails to see value in the inclusion of the Duluth Art Institute in the offerings at the Depot, especially given our 116-year history as the region’s premier visual arts organization,' said DAI Executive Director Christina Woods."

Duluth News Tribune  |  County may reject Duluth Art Institute's Depot lease  |  July 23, 2023

"The Duluth Art Institute is looking for new exhibit space after county officials recommended the board reject a proposal by the nonprofit to renew its space in the St. Louis County Depot."

PRESS RELEASE  |  County Committee Rejects DAI Bid for Lease Renewal at Depot  |  July 21, 2023

DAI Fact Sheet on St. Louis County RFP Process

Q: Why did the DAI not offer the County's required amount in its bid?

A: Our rate for many years until the RFP process was abruptly instituted last year was $1.20 per square foot. The RFP process was imposed on the DAI despite clear language in the statute (373.01. Subd.1 b) that organizations our size were exempt, specifically: "Leases and proposals that do not exceed $15,000 for any one year may be negotiated and are not subject to the competitive bid procedures of this section." Our lease amount prior to the current year fell squarely below that threshold.

Nonetheless, after negotiation last year for the 2023 lease, we agreed to a rate of $3.50 - a 191.67% increase. For 2024, the county has stated the required rate is $4.97. Since last year's rate was reached by negotiation, it would make no business sense to have committed to it before engaging in negotiation. We also clearly stated in our offer to them that we are open to negotiation. We still are.

Q: The County states that the "DAI's use and expectations relative to traffic and work within the requested space do not align with the required ingress/egress nature of the requested space" and that the "DAI has been occupying and proposed to continue using includes a balcony, stairwell and elevator" for its galleries.

A: Our proposal included the continued use of the gallery spaces as they have been for our entire half-century in the building, and which the County approved last year when it first imposed the RFP process.

If the County plans to change the infrastructure, it is incumbent upon them to tell us of the designated reconfigured space and use, just as it would be the responsibility of a landlord to alert a tenant of an intended change of a bathroom to a kitchen. In effect, the county is stating that the spaces they have offered to us - presumably in good faith - are no longer suitable for galleries.

Q: The County states the RFP process has been in place for more than a year and that the DAI should have known about the lease rate.

A: Although we participated in the RFP process both in 2022 and this year, the County has failed to explain why the statute is suddenly being enforced, given that previous County Attorneys Mitchell, Rubin and Ford did not enforce it. We also will reiterate that every historical account and continued understanding of the development of the old Union Depot as the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center is that it was created and .in perpetuity exists as a venue for the arts subsidized by the public as an amenity for the community, not as a money-making venture for the county.

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