Westonka Friends of the Arts aims to bring arts culture to Westonka

by Nicole Brodzik
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Deborah Jindra voted in favor of the 2016 Westonka School District referendum. She said she was thrilled to see her new hometown supporting the idea of having an arts community. Now, she wants to help them act on that idea.

After a decisive 2-1 vote in favor of adding new recreation and performing arts centers, Jindra reached out to see how the school district planned to move forward with involving the community in the later of the two centers.

“I reached out to the Superintendent Kevin Borg and just asked how they planned to get the community involved,” she said. “At that point they were still figuring out construction and bonding so they hadn’t got that far. I just wanted to volunteer my time to help. I didn’t expect to run the whole thing.”

Before moving west five years ago, Jindra lived in Minneapolis and was chair of the Minneapolis Arts Commission. She’s well aware of her newness to the community and said she wants to take baby steps and get as many people involved as want to help.

“Well we learned from the referendum vote that people want to see this,” Jindra said. “We want as many people to be involved from the Westonka community as possible. The hard part is finding the worker bees who will go out and become boosters and do the work we need to do to get this group started.”

The Westonka Friends of the Arts is currently looking for applications for their steering committee, which they hope to have selected by August. Jindra said they plan to appoint eight members that will stay as committed organizers and visionaries in the organizations early years. They’ll be in charge of getting community support and helping to decide what kinds of acts or performances will be brought in.

“I know the school is hoping to have the performing arts center open in fall 2018, so we want to get our committee together by fall of this year to get a head start,” Jindra said.

She said she hopes to see plays, dance groups and musicians come perform at the new center as a way for the community to come together and get to know one another.

“That’s one thing about moving here that I’ve really noticed– it’s hard to make friends here unless you have kids in the schools or are involved in the city,” Jindra said. “I want to create a space where adults can get together and have a thriving art community to bring everyone together.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s hoping to exclude the student population either. Jindra sees a symbiotic relationship growing between the Mound Westonka High School theater and art programs, and the Westonka Friends of the Arts.

“Our vision is have visual artwork from local artists as well as high school students on display in the lobby area of the performing arts center,” Jindra said. “We want to encourage people to express themselves through art and to be proud of their work, no matter what age.”

She said that for their first year, she hopes to be able to put on two events for the community and then grow the number and size of those events to build as the community grows around the new program.

“I like to think big,” Jindra said. “I really think this area is under served from an arts standpoint. I don’t want people to feel like they have to drive into the cities for their arts and entertainment.”

Jindra said her main goal right now is to get the communities support and make sure the Westonka Friends of the Arts is heading the direction that the people of Westonka agree with. She said that anyone who has ideas or wants to get involved can do so through the steering committee and that applications to be on that committee can be found on the Westonka Community Education website at https://www.westonka.k12.mn.us/Page/986