topMRAC e-newsletter
January 2014 
In This Issue
Community Arts Awards
Community Arts Deadline
Arts Learning Workshops
Arts Learning Panels
Next Step Fund
Arts Management Training
Resource Updates
Holiday Hours
FY 2013 Annual Report
Photos Needed!
FY 2014 Grant Deadlines
Forward to a Friend
FY 2013 Summary
Quick Links

With the beginning of the new calendar year, I have just two brief messages. 

The first is to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year, and to thank you for all that you do to contribute to the amazing bounty of arts and cultural activities that enriches this region and state so deeply.

The second is to ask you to mark Thursday, March 27, 2014 on your calendar for Arts Advocacy Day at the Minnesota State Capitol, organized by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. More details on Advocacy Day will be provided in our newsletter, and by MCA, in the coming weeks.



Jeff Prauer

Executive Director 

Community Arts Grant Awards

On December 17, 2013, MRAC awarded 297,288 to 62 organizations in its FY 2014 Community Arts, Round 1 grant program. The Community Arts grant program utilizes a block grant system to ensure funds are distributed broadly in the seven counties of MRAC's service area. The organizations and projects chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a connection to a community.

Visit for a list of this round's grant recipients sorted by the county of activity that includes award amounts, project summaries, and links to the grantees' websites when available. Please note that the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are separated from the surrounding suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

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Community Arts, Round 2 Deadline 

The FY 2014 Community Arts, Round 2 grant deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2014 with an earliest project start date of March 26, 2014. 

All applications must now be submitted using MRAC's online Grant Interface.
The grant guidelines and Grant Interface are available on the Community Arts grant program page. Tutorial videos are available on the online applications page

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Arts Learning Application Workshops

The FY 2014 Arts Learning, Round 2 grant deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 3, 2014 with an earliest project start date of May 28, 2014. The following workshops are designed to help groups prepare MRAC Arts Learning grant applications. Participants will become familiar with the grant program, the online application process, and how to write effective MRAC grant proposals. Click on the linked workshop date to register.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Friday, January 31, 2014, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Monday, February 3, 2014, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All applications must now be submitted using MRAC's online Grant Interface. The grant guidelines and Grant Interface are available on the Arts Learning grant program page. Tutorial videos are available on the online applications page. The grant interface for this program will be active starting on January 20, 2014.

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Arts Learning Grant Panels    


The FY 2014 Arts Learning, Round 1 grant applications will be reviewed the week of January 20, 2014. The panel review meetings will begin each day at 9:00 a.m. with a short panel re-orientation. Click on the linked panel date to see the order of reviews for that day.


 Tuesday, January 21, 2014 

 Wednesday, January 22, 2014  

 Thursday,  January 23, 2014  


Panel meetings are public, open meetings, and constituents are encouraged to come and listen to the reviews to gain a fuller understanding of the process and hear the panelists' comments directly. Applicants may listen to the proceedings but are not invited to make presentations.


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Next Step Fund    


The FY 2014 Next Step Fund deadline is Monday March 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. The guidelines are posted on the Next Step Fund program page. The grant interface will become active on January 20 and you may start your application after that date. 


Application workshops for the Next Step Fund are scheduled in the beginning of February. The Next Step Fund application workshops are designed to help individual artists prepare Next Step Fund grant applications. Participants will become familiar with the program and online application. Because of the volume of applications to this program, MRAC staff does not offer individual consultations for this grant. The workshops are your opportunity to get questions answered.  


Please click on the linked workshop date to register.   


Saturday, February 1, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  

Bloomington Center for the Arts, Black Box Theater
1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431   


Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Open Book, Target Performance Hall
1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Conference Room
2324 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55114

The Next Step Fund for individual artists, through generous support from The McKnight Foundation, provides project grants up to $5,000 to professional artists in any discipline for the purpose of career development and artistic achievement. Applicants may be at any stage of their career, but must demonstrate achievement in their artistic field and have a history of public presentation or community contribution.  


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MRAC Arts Management Training  


The Art of Outcomes--showing your impact!

Monday, January 27, 2014, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by Steve Boland, Next in Nonprofits


How do you link your arts activities to measurable outcomes that show the value and impact of your organization? It doesn't have to be complicated. This arts-focused session on program evaluation will help you understand the differences between outputs and outcomes, ways quantitative and qualitative measures can be used to reinforce each other, and how to create a theory of change statement that can be the basis of a logic model. While no outcomes-based evaluation is ever perfect, the goal is transparency and clarity of assumptions. You will leave with a draft logic model based on a draft theory of change statement, and an understanding of what outputs to measure to demonstrate your outcomes.


Steve Boland is a nonprofit leader with expertise in building strong communities, creating effective financial and evaluation strategies, and using technology to further nonprofit fundraising and operational goals. Steve has over 20 years of nonprofit and public sector experience, including executive director positions at Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, Summit-University Planning Council, and Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation. He holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Hamline University and serves on the Board of Directors for Outfront Minnesota. You can often find his leading-edge industry opinions in publications of Nonprofit Quarterly, Community Tech Knowledge, and the Minnesota Council on Foundations.  


Arts Partnership Speed-Dating 2.0
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Facilitated by Rob Routhieaux, Hamline University
At Neighborhood House/Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East St. Paul, MN 55107-2360


Back by popular demand and redesigned for better connections! This fun and informative arts-networking event will help you connect with other arts organizations and create partnerships to extend resources, increase audiences, and advance missions. After a short presentation by Rob Routhieaux on finding potential matches and developing successful partnerships, we will have four rounds of "speed-dating" during which groups will get together with other groups who:

  • Round 1 - serve a similar location,
  • Round 2 - serve a similar audience/demographic,
  • Round 3 - have a similar service area or arts discipline, and
  • Round 4 - have similar partnership goals.

Individuals will not be paired up but rather meet in small groups for a longer time in order to maximize the number of potential matches. Special guests with access to Legacy funds and a desire to create arts partnerships have been invited. Appetizers will be served. 


Rob Routhieaux is an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business at Hamline University where he teaches and serves as the director of nonprofit programs. He has more than fifteen years of experience working with nonprofit and arts organizations and currently serves as a board member for Teatro del Pueblo.


The workshops are free, but we ask that you register in advance. Please click on the linked workshop date to register. A list of upcoming MRAC training events and the handouts from past presentations are available at Please contact us if you need special accommodations to attend a workshop.

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Resource Updates (These non-MRAC opportunities are listed at MRAC's discretion. The listing does not indicate an endorsement.)     

American Voices in partnership with the U.S. Department of State will send ten American music ensembles to more than 50 countries to perform and connect with global audiences. Ensembles of three to five members are encouraged to apply. Selected ensembles will tour internationally over a period of four to six weeks. More information is available at Deadline: January 6, 2014. 


The American Composers Forum in partnership with Classical MPR invites student composers (ages 14 to 18 and grades 9 to 12) to submit an original score for any combination of a piano trio (piano, cello and violin) to the fourth annual Minnesota Varsity program, which showcases the best young classical musicians in Minnesota and the surrounding area. More information is available at Deadline: January 9, 2014.


The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Our Town grants provide funding for creative placemaking projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Our Town grants are given to creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to: improve the quality of life, encourage greater creative activity, foster stronger community identity and a sense of place, and revitalize economic development. More information is available at Deadline: January 13, 2014. 

Motion Poems
is inviting Minnesota poets to enter a statewide poetry contest designed to reclaim Saint Paul's Union Depot and celebrate its renaissance as a transportation hub for the Twin Cities. The contest theme is "Arrivals and Departures." Twenty finalist poems will be chosen and up to ten developed as short films, which will then be projected onto the screen-filled 50' x 1000' facade of the depot during the St Paul Art Crawl, October 2-4, 2014. For more information visit: Deadline: Jan 15, 2014. 

The Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grants provide general operating support to high quality, established arts organizations that produce, present, or exhibit works of art; to organizations that provide a broad range of services to artists; and to community arts schools and conservatories that make arts learning available to Minnesotans of all ages and abilities. More information is available at Deadline: January 24, 2014.   


The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA)'s The Big Read supports organizations in developing community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community's chosen book or poet. More information is available at Deadline: January 28, 2014.   


Applications for the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival (July 31- August 10, 2014) are now available at The Fringe Festival connects adventurous artists with adventurous audiences through an annual 11-day performing arts extravaganza. Fringe Festival shows are selected by random lottery. The application fee is $25, and producing fees for selected shows range from $350 to $450 depending on venue size. Deadline: February 14, 2014.   


The 2014 Travel and Study Grant Program, supported by the General Mills Foundation, the Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of the HRK Foudation, and the Jerome Foundation, will award grants to Minnesota and New York City based emerging creative artists (choreographers, film and video directors, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, poets, and spoken word artists). Minnesota-based executive and program administrators working for nonprofit arts organizations in dance, film and video, and literature are also eligible to apply. More information is available at Deadline: February 24, 2014.


Franconia Sculpture Park is now accepting applications for their 2014 Fellowship Program, Intern Artist Program, Hot Metal Residency, and Arts Administration Internship. Franconia's fellowship, internship, and residency programs offer opportunities for artists to live, create, and exhibit three-dimensional artwork in the sculpture park. While in residence, artists live in a communal setting in a ten-bedroom farmhouse, receive studio space in the 7,000 sq. ft. outdoor work area, and have access to tools and equipment necessary to produce large-scale artwork. More information is available at

SAVE THE DATES! The inaugural Arts Business Research Symposium: Bidirectionality: Arts as Business as Arts, will be held March 12-14, 2014 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. More information is available at

Interested in a non-MRAC training opportunity, but not sure that your organization can afford the fee? MRAC offers a training fund grant for management or administrative-related training opportunities that will strengthen your organization. Click on the link for more information on MRAC's Management Training Fund grant. 


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FY 2013 Annual Report

All of our grant awards from FY 2013 are available in a downloadable document--the MRAC 2013 Annual Report is now online! Thank you to all of our awarded groups whose work helps us meet our mission of increasing access to the arts in 7-county metropolitan area communities. We also thank Ananya Dance Theatre - photo by V. Paul Virtucio, Bedlam Theatre - photo by Farrington Starnes, Cleveland Neighborhood Association, Dream Songs Project - photo by Greg Kaiser, Hinterhands Puppet Company - photos by Bruce Silcox, Iraqi and American Reconcilliation Project - photo by Shari Hagen, KAIROSalive!, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, Rosemount Area Arts Council, and zAmya Theater Project for supplying the photos we used in this year's report.


Please note: with 472 grants awarded last year, the annual report is a fairly large file and may take a moment to download. If you wish to submit photos from your MRAC-funded events for use in MRAC and RAC Forum materials, please visit


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Photos Needed for a New Brochure!

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council needs photos of arts activities from the past year to use on our website and in our print materials such as our brochure and annual report. We are looking for a variety of photos that will show the diversity of our community and the range of art activities and art disciplines that MRAC funds. Photos will be selected for use based on our needs and photo quality.

For more information and to submit your photos, please visit our photo submission page or contact Mara Miller by email at

FY 2014 Grant Deadlines

All grant applications are now submitted online. For more information about our online applications visit the online application page on our website. Please note: the deadline time is 4:30 p.m. for all grant deadlines (except for the Next Step Fund for individual artists) so that we can process the online entries.

1/13/2014    Community Arts, Round 2
3/3/2014      Arts Learning, Round 2
3/3/2014      Next Step Fund
4/7/2014      Arts Activities Support, Round 2
4/14/2014    Arts Achievement Award
Weekly           Management Training Fund
Weekly           Emergency Accessibility
Monthly         Management Consulting Fund


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 MRAC FY 2013 Summary 

In FY 2013, MRAC received 801 applications and awarded 434 grants totaling 2,979,141 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 376 applications from individual artists in the Next Step Fund program and awarded 38 grants totaling 180,225 with funds from The McKnight Foundation. MRAC also provided 16 arts management training sessions and 30 grant application workshops.


Photos for top ribbon provided by: Caponi Art Park, Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation, Twin Cities Women's Choir, Weavers Guild of Minnesota, and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.