The Ark Cultural Center’s quest is to create a vibrant and diverse art center which serves all Driftless residents and artist regardless of economic status or need. The Ark is dedicated to a populist vision of educating, inspiring, and entertaining equally all the folk and the folk-artists in the region, so nurturing and enhancing the artistic and cultural quality of local living.

“The Ark” Community Center was founded in May of 2012. The Ark seeks to become a leading innovator in imaginatively creating local art centers that inspire and enrich community life in rural towns and regions. This is a mission achieved through an arts appreciation strategy that connects teachers, students, and the Ark, so inspiring local and regional artists of all ages and crafts.


The Ark’s main objectives are to progressively develop as: a community arts center,  then as a regional collaborative, with this work eventually culminating in: leading a zonal art-inspired-community-wellness movement that stretches across the breadth of the geographic “Driftless Region,” encompassing La Crosse, Madison, and Prairie du Chien, WI, and across state borders to Dubuque and Decorah, IA, and Rochester and Winona, MN — encouraging all out-of town visitors and cultural supporters for our events.


The Ark founders put in place a populist set of community participation and development values. Foremost was maintaining affordable program fees to maximize community participation. As noted, the Driftless Region is rich in geological terms yet quite disparate in respect to family incomes. Since the Ark maintains a commitment to “folk art” programming and education as primary to, but not excluding, professional art programming and education, programs fees are kept low and are usually optional.


The Ark’s key guiding values and desired activities center on:

Creative place-making: Art and culture at the heart of a portfolio of integrated strategies that can drive vibrancy and diversity so powerful that it transforms communities

Vibrancy: The synergy among people, activity and value in a place that increases community vitality and spurs economic opportunity.

Diversity: Heterogeneity of people in terms of income, race, and ethnicity through an inclusive and connected place.