Yankton Area Arts was organized in 1973 and incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization in 1975. Our dedicated founders and passionate board members believe that arts are fundamental not only to education but also to a rich, cultural existence. YAA actively supports advocacy, education, and programming that serve as a catalyst for integrating the arts into the daily lives of our community. We strive to provide accessible art experiences for citizens of all ages that will uplift our spirits, contribute to a positive progressive community, add to the quality of our existence, and even stimulate economic growth. Whether through dance, music, visual arts, writing, or theater, the arts provide a bridge between creativity and community.
Executive Director: Julie J. Amsberry
Assistant Director: Craig Sherman
Board of Directors:
Kristi O'Connell Ekroth – Interim President
Cheryl Beck – Vice-President
Cheryl Beck – Treasurer
Paul Harens – Secretary
We are proud members of
“Educating, advocating, and enriching Yankton by integrating the arts into the community”
The GAR Hall
(Grand Army of the Republic)
A Brief History
Union Veterans of the Civil War built our mid-Victorian Italiante Style Grand Army of the Republic Hall in 1887 for a cost of $980 and met here until 1924. From then until 1999 the GAR Hall was used and faithfully maintained by the Woman's Relief Corps of the GAR. Declining membership of the Corps led to the deeding of the hall to Historic Yankton, Inc. in 1997. The hall was then sold to Yankton Area Arts (YAA) in 1999 for $1.00. YAA accepted the responsibility of both preserving this historic landmark and creating a new home for the arts in our community. The hall has been renovated to include an art gallery and meeting space, an office, an art studio, and a kitchen. All mechanical systems have been replaced; all surfaces, both interior and exterior refinished; handicap accessibility has been added. Volunteers from the Federal Prison Camp have done the majority of the work. Without their work, dedication to detail, and skill, this renovation would have been impossible.
Civil War Cannon
The cannon that stands sentinel in the front lawn of the GAR Hall dates from 1862, Fort Pitt, PA. No. 33. It weighs 2,512 lbs. and carries the initials J.R.F as proof of its authenticity. It is definitely heavy artillery for the period; probably used for bombarding fortifications. The cannon now houses a time capsule with a granite stone, donated by Luken Memorial, Inc. commemorating its installation. It was one of two cannons (originally) displayed. The second cannon has been fully restored and can be seen at the Yankton County Historical Museum.
The GAR Hall Art Gallery
The GAR Hall Art Gallery features changing exhibits that vary from world-famous artists to both professional and amateur regional artists to local children. A wide variety of events are also scheduled. The gallery provides a beautiful setting for meetings, receptions, and parties hosted by YAA. The classroom in the lower level offers artists a place for classes, informal meetings and solitary creativity. The kitchen is fully equipped with attractive table settings to accommodate elegant dinners and receptions in the gallery. The gallery open to the public at no charge weekdays from 1:00-5:00 PM and Saturdays from 1:00-3:00 PM. Parking is available in the adjacent south lot when church services are not in session. Tour groups and buses are welcome with advance notice.