Mission, Vision & History


River Arts Alliance has its roots in the former Blue Heron Project Committee – an ad hoc group of artists and art supporters who initiated a public statue project in 2006 in Winona, MN. On Earth Day 2007, 15 seven-foot Blue Herons, designed and individually painted by local artists, were unveiled and placed in public locations in Winona. In October 2007 these popular Blue Herons were auctioned to top bidders, raising $45,000 to be donated to the Winona Fine Arts Commission. The commission used these funds to offer as grants for other local art projects. Soon after this successful project was completed, local arts advocates began to discuss the need to promote and support the vast artistic talent in the Winona area.

In 2008 Blue Heron Project Committee members and other arts advocates convened community discussions to assess local assets as well as local needs. As a result, the River Arts Alliance (RAA) was formed to address these needs in order to support the burgeoning artistic potential of the Winona region. Also at that time, the Winona Fine Arts Commission contracted the Blue Heron Committee to produce and manage the first annual Family Art Day, a free arts workshop open to everyone in the community. Since then, Family Art Day has grown in popularity and attracts over 500 participants each year.

In December 2014, River Arts Alliance became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, focusing on arts education and support for local arts and culture. RAA works directly with artists and other local and regional arts organizations through promotion and collaboration and offers fiscal sponsorship to members who need representation. Currently, RAA sponsors a variety of local public art projects, such as Family Art Day and the now complete HBC Fence mural, A History of Communication, in Levee Park. The RAA website includes a community arts calendar as well as a blog, artists’ webpages, and links to arts organizations’ websites. RAA has an active Facebook and Instagram presence, and offers a weekly e-newsletter that promotes our members in addition to offering opportunities to everyone on our contact list.

Mission & Vision


River Arts Alliance supports and celebrates regional arts and culture by organizing educational programs, community events, and public art projects while promoting opportunities for artists and facilitating collaborations between organizations in the Winona region.


To enhance and promote the Winona region as a center of arts and culture.

Non-Discrimination Policy

River Arts Alliance does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations.

These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provisions services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and members.

River Arts Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against employments, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

This policy was adopted by the River Arts Alliance Board of Directors on February 12, 2018.