We exist to enrich the cultural fabric of the region we serve by offering high quality artistic programs, welcoming and nurturing talent and providing educational opportunities
In 1974, the City of Owatonna purchased the campus of the former Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children which had been in operation from 1886 until 1945. Beginning in 1945, the orphanage phased out and was renamed the Owatonna State School which provided academic and vocational training for the states mentally disabled. After the buildings of the former State School had stood empty for several years, a group of Owatonna’s, intent on finding a home for a community arts organization, walked through the empty forgotten rooms at the rear of the main building and could visualize musicians performing, rooms filled with paintings and decorative objects, and workrooms utilizing long- forgotten equipment with young and old learning new artistic skills. In 1974, under the direction of Mary Leach and utilizing the artistic flair of Marianne Young the first board of directors of the OAC rolled up their sleeves and set out to clean and restore the facility, and invited the community to join in -idea became reality. Today OAC's mission is to make the arts accessible to the community and to promote creativity. With a dedicated staff and a committed board of directors the organization has thrived to become one of the top arts organizations in greater Minnesota. Its vitality is experienced in the classes that are offered every quarter for kids and adults, exhibitions by regional professional artists, and musical performances ranging from chamber music to folk. The OAC has creative classes including ceramics, painting, life drawing, weaving, metal sculpture, raku and batik to name a few.