Perpich News

Celebrating Lola Perpich

Photograph of Delores “Lola” Perpich, wife of Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich, c.1978.

March 26, 2021

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we want to recognize and remember Lola Perpich as a pioneer in playing an integral role in the creation of the Minnesota Center for Arts Education, now named Perpich Center for Arts Education. In the dissertation by James Douglas Hainlen, September, 2009, it is stated that Lola Perpich shared with policy makers what she and her husband, Gov. Rudy Perpich, had seen in Europe in state-supported arts schools. She lobbied legislators on the arts school to the extent that one former legislator stated that it was the “only time in memory a Governor’s spouse lobbied the chair of the tax committee.” Lola served as “honorary co-chair” of the fifteen member task force to develop plans for the school for the arts in Minnesota.

Oil on canvas portrait of Governor Rudy Perpich and First Lady Lola Perpich, painted in 2000 by Mark Balma. Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.

Thinking back to that time in the 1980s, I read about Governor Rudy Perpich and Lola Perpich getting the support needed to establish a school for the arts in Minnesota. I remember that having a place dedicated to the arts was really important to them. This idea was driven home even more so after living on the Iron Range for a time and seeing the efforts of their work in promoting the arts for northeast Minnesota. Now as Executive Director, I feel very fortunate to represent Perpich Center for Arts Education and know this place would not exist without the efforts made by Lola Perpich. She was truly a pioneer in helping people understand how important the arts are in Minnesota and the global community.


Dr. Charles Rick
Executive Director | Perpich Center for Arts Education