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July 1, 2013

For Immediate Release
Mara Miller
(651) 523-6384

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) Awards
Next Step Fund Grants to 38 Individual Artists
On June 25, 2013, MRAC awarded a total of 180,225 to 38 individual artists in the FY 2013 Next Step Fund grant program. The Next Step Fund program, funded by The McKnight Foundation, is designed to help artists in the 7-county metropolitan region complete a project that will help them rise to the next level in their careers regardless of whether they are emerging artists or artists well established in their disciplines.

There were 376 artists who applied for the 38 grants given. Fifty-five finalists were asked to submit work samples as background information and support for their Next Step project. Artists could work in any discipline but must have a community connection and demonstrated achievement in their artistic field.


The following is an alphabetical list of Next Step Fund grant recipients with short project descriptions.


Lesley Arimah                                             $4,000                   

Literature - fiction

Funding to attend an intensive writing workshop for emerging writers conducted by the short story publication One Story.


Philip Blackburn                                         $5,000                  


Funding for the time to collaborate with specialized experts as well as a significant period of model building, prototyping, durability and safety testing for a large scale public art project entitled: The Pendulum Beacon.


Melissa Borman                                          $5,000               

Visual Arts - general                                    

Funding to purchase a wide format inkjet printer, paper and additional ink.


Bart Buch                                                      $5,000                    

Theater - puppetry

Funding to adapt and revise the artist's puppet performance "Mortal City" into a small self-contained touring show.


Craig Carnahan                                            $5,000                    

Opera/Musical Theater

Funding for the costs of engaging a professional team of artists to rehearse and perform a reading session of the artist's new work "Ghost Camp" and to produce an audio recording for study purposes.


Ellie Fregni                                                   $4,100

Music - ethnic/folk-inspired

Funding to record and produce an educational children's CD and booklet.


Dylan Fresco                                                $5,000

Theater - general

Funding to develop a strategic communications plan and create marketing materials.


Elizabeth di Grazia                                     $5,000 

Literature - nonfiction

Funding to participate in a one-week writing retreat with Mary Caroll Moore, take a twelve-week online class, and take time to finish the artist's book and seek publication.


Ash Hane                                                       $5,000   

Visual Arts - graphics

Funding to purchase professional photography equipment.


John Heimbuch                                            $5,000

Theater - general

Funding for the artist's first self-produced independent short film titled: IF NOT WHEN.


Greg Herriges                                              $4,500

Music - ethnic/folk-inspired

Funding to purchase soundtrack recording equipment.


Keith Holmes                                               $5,000


Funding to purchase a Nikon D800 camera and a Macbook Pro in order to digitize 30 years of silver photography.


Laura Holway                                              $5,000 


Funding for the creation of a tour-able collection of dance vignettes to connect work with new audiences.


Asa Hoyt                                                        $5,000

Crafts - metal

Funding to create an outdoor, propane-fired blacksmithing forge and purchase a variety of blacksmithing tools required to manipulate metal while hot.


Sabine Ibes                                                   $5,000

Dance - ethnic/jazz/folk-inspired

Funding for the artist to travel to Argentina to study Argentine Tango Dancing.


Julie Johnson                                                $4,900

Music - new/experimental/electronic

Funding to purchase a Trevor James bass flute and a Rhythm and Bass Stompbox.


Joseph Jones                                                 $5,000

Music - orchestral

Funding to help purchase a baroque bassoon.


Gail Katz-James                                           $5,000

Visual Arts - sculpture

Funding to purchase a MIG welder, mentor with artist Heather Doyle, and purchase the necessary materials to create eight to ten new mixed- media sculptures.


Barbara Kingsley                                        $5,000

Literature - playwriting/scriptwriting

Funding to mount a tour-friendly production of the playwright's work, Emily Dickinson: I Am Proof of Me!


Colin Kloecker                                             $5,000

Media Arts - video

Funding to purchase film equipment for the production of the first video in a documentary series titled, Public Works.


Brian Laidlaw                                              $5,000

Music - popular

Funding to purchase home audio recording equipment in order to record the artist's next work, "Amoratorium" song suite.


Caly McMorrow                                           $5,000

Media Arts - technology/experimental

Funding to update equipment and get training to support the creation of interactive installation work.


Tami Morse                                                  $5,000 

Music - chamber

Funding for an internship with world-class harpsichord builder Ton Amir.


Blake Nellis                                                  $2,400


Funding to purchase professional camera equipment.


Pat O'Keefe                                                    $5,000

Music - new/experimental/electronic

Funding for the creation and release through Innova Recordings of the artists first CD as a solo artist.


Leslie O'Neill                                                $1,625

Dance - modern

Funding to attend a week-long professional development workshop taught by movement analyst and choreographer Claire Porter.


Jehra Patrick                                                $5,000

Visual Arts - painting

Funding to research, produce and exhibit a new body of the artist's work.


Ashwini Ramaswamy                                $5,000

Dance - general

Funding for the artist's first international invitation for a solo performance.


Patrick Scully                                               $5,000


Funding to create a solo performance about Walt Whitman.


Iris Shiraishi                                                $5,000

Music - ethnic/folk-inspired

Funding to study with Master Artist Kyosuke Suzuki in Japan.


Deborah Jiang Stein                                    $5,000

Literature - nonfiction

Funding for the research, editing and marketing necessary to complete the memoir, PRISON BABY.


Maria Tavera                                                $5,000

Visual Arts - general

Funding for a printmaking course, a year of studio access at Highpoint Center for printmaking, and the supplies needed to produce a large body of new work culminating in the artist's first solo exhibition.


Mong Vang                                                    $5,000

Media Arts - video

Funding to purchase the artist's first camcorder, a Panasonic AG-AF100.


Jeremy Walker                                              $5,000

Music - jazz

Funding for a professional recording at Wild Sounds Studio of the artist's original songs performed by the band, Boot Camp.


Krista Walsh                                               $4,500

Visual Arts - general

Funding to purchase and install a heat and air conditioner unit for the artist's studio.


Caitlin Warner                                             $5,000

Visual Arts - general

Funding to purchase bookbinding equipment.


James Williams                                           $4,200

Visual Arts - sculpture

Funding to purchase a plasma cutter and AC/DC TIG welder.


Paul Winger                                                 $5,000


Funding for a personalized workshop with photographer and mentor Doug Beasley and the camera equipment recommended by the instructor.


About the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council


The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) serves nonprofit arts groups in the seven-county (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties) metropolitan area of Minnesota with annualized operating expenses less than 400,000. In FY 2012, MRAC received 840 applications and awarded 419 grants totaling 2,738,936 to arts organizations and/or projects including a grant to VSA Minnesota for its regranting program, the ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations. These grants were funded by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State's general fund, and by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. MRAC also received 366 applications from individual artists in the Next Step Fund program and awarded 32 grants totaling 155,900 with funds from The McKnight Foundation. MRAC also provided 32 arts management training sessions and 26 grant application workshops.

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