Hastings City Hall

City Hall is located at 101 4th St E, Hastings.

To help further the arts in Hastings, the city council on Oct. 18 proposed renewing to the Arts Task Force, a seven-member group tasked with determining the best way to use grant funding to support and promote public art in Hastings.

At the council’s last meeting on Oct. 4, members considered a proposal to create an arts and culture commission that would take advisory and operational roles to advance arts in Hastings.

After a lengthy discussion on the best way to further arts in Hastings, whether it’s through an arts and culture commission or other methods, the council passed idea to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

The Planning Committee, which includes councilmembers Tina Folch, Lisa Leifeld and Mark Vaughan, recommends “reinvigorating the Arts Task Force, with possible membership expansion, to define the future objectives or mission of the group,” according to the proposal.

The renewal of the Arts Task Force will include defining new objective to further arts in the community and possibly changing the task force’s structure to better achieve that goal.


The mural on the back of Hastings Family Service by Daniela Bianchini and Pablo Diego Perez Riesco (aka Kalaka) was created thanks to the efforts of the Arts Task Force. 

“The Planning Committee’s recommendation was ‘let’s get the Task Force back in operation to have them make some recommendations for the long term as well as identifying short term tasks to support arts’,” City Administrator Dan Wietecha said.

While the council won’t create the originally proposed arts and culture commission, they still felt it necessary to support furthering arts in the community.

Wietecha said once the Arts Task Force is reestablished and considers the best ways to further arts in Hastings, it is still possible that an arts and culture commission could be created.

“The Arts Task Force would also create a short-term workplan and make recommendations to Council on possible needed structure changes (such as transitioning into a commission) going forward,” the Arts Task Force renewal proposal said.

Members of the council were apprehensive about creating an arts and culture commission at the last meeting over issues of staffing the commission and it not having any specific goals.

Creating a new arts and culture commission in Hastings would require members to volunteer to join the commission and establish a mission and goals for the commission.

“We wanted to be very respectful about the implications of having a commission and its impacts to staff,” Folch said. “Staffing when you’re starting a new commission is a big lift.”

The Planning Committee decided to start back up the Arts Task Force because it already had members.

“In terms of reinvigorating the Arts Task Force, it’s a matter of making seven phone calls to see if people are still interested,” Wietecha said.

Leifeld said the decision for not create the arts and culture commission came down to a budgetary issue for her.

“I know there’s a great untapped resource at a city level with the arts, so for me it was a budgetary concern right now,” she said.

Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender said renewing the Arts Task Force is a way for the city to get arts and culture continuing in the community.

Written By


Sophia Voight is a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette. She is from Oshkosh, WI and graduated from the UW Oshkosh with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism in 2021. She can be reached with any news tips at svoight@orourkemediagroup.com


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