topMRAC e-newsletter
February 2014 
In This Issue
Arts Learning Awards
Arts Learning Deadline
Next Step Fund
Community Arts Panels
Arts Activities Support Application Workshops
ADA Access Improvement Grants
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
A letter from MRAC's Board President:

Unfortunately, even after years of music and dance lessons, I would not consider myself blessed with any artistic talent. Fortunately, I have been able to channel my love of the arts into arts administration jobs.


But, my favorite role is that of arts fan. It's sometimes challenging to push aside the arts admin voices in my head ("That's an ingenious way to get the audience pumped up" or "I wonder how they promoted their work," etc.) as I sit in the audience or wander through an exhibit. And, that's why I love when arts experiences grab me in unexpected ways and in unexpected places.


The Minnesota State Fair launched its Arts A'Fair endeavor last year with the intention of surprising Fair visitors with pop-up showcases throughout the grounds by music, dance, drumming, and theater groups. 4-H'ers led their goats to competition as youth sang excerpts from "Aladdin," families ate food on-a-stick as flamenco dancers performed, brave souls ready to take on Mighty Midway rides were greeted at the gate by theatrical clowns, an antique fire truck and a message about fire safety - and so on. Despite the heat and humidity (remember?), artists and audiences both reveled in the shared experiences - partly because the encounters were so unexpected.


In the interest of full disclosure, I work for the Minnesota State Fair. But, writing this article gives me the opportunity to thank artists and arts groups for sharing your work both in formal ways and in traditional venues, as well as in unexpected places and when it's least expected. It's an honor to serve this community as an MRAC board member, and I look forward to experiencing and encountering more and more of the region's outstanding art.


Best winter regards,


Christine Murakami Noonan

MRAC Board President


Arts Learning Grant Awards

On January 28, 2014, MRAC awarded 245,366 to 26 organizations in the first round of its FY 2014 Arts Learning grant program. The Arts Learning projects chosen will provide high-quality, age-appropriate arts education for Minnesotans of all ages to develop knowledge, skills, and understanding of and/or through the arts by engaging people in extended arts experiences and activities with clearly articulated learning objectives. The Arts Learning grant program is a direct result of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment. All applications go through a competitive peer review panel process. The MRAC board of directors makes the final decisions on all panel recommendations.

Visit for a list of this round's grant recipients sorted by county 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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Arts Learning, Round 2 - Deadline 

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. 

All applications must 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

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Next Step Fund - Deadline and Workshops    

The FY 2014 Next Step Fund deadline is Monday, March 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.

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. Because of the volume of applications to this program, past recipients of a Next Step Fund grant are not eligible to apply to the FY 2014 Next Step Fund grant program. Full guidelines are posted on the Next Step Fund
program page.  


Attend an application workshop.
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. MRAC staff does not offer individual consultations for this grant. The workshops are your opportunity to get questions answered.

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 workshops are free, but we ask that you register in advance. Click on the linked workshop date to register. Please contact us if you need special accommodations to attend a workshop.

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Community Arts, Round 2 - Grant Panels    


The FY 2014 Community Arts, Round 2 grant applications will be reviewed the week of March 17, 2014. The panel review meetings will begin each day at 9:00 a.m. with a short panel re-orientation. Panel review schedules will be available in our March e-newsletter and on our website in March. 


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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Arts Activities Support, Round 2 - Application Workshops

The deadline for Arts Activities Support, Round 2 grant applications is Monday, April 7, 2014 with an earliest project start date of June 25, 2014. Grant guidelines are available on the Arts Activities Support grant program page.

The following workshops are designed to help groups prepare MRAC Arts Activities Support 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.

Thursday, March 13, 2014, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Friday, March 14, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The workshops are free and will be held in the MRAC conference room at 2324 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55114. Please contact us if you need special accommodations to attend an application workshop.

All applications must be submitted using MRAC's online Grant Interface. Tutorial videos are available on the online applications page. The grant interface for this program will be active starting on February 24, 2014.

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ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations

ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations are designed to help make arts programming, activities, and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. The grants of up to 15,000 are intended for projects with significant or long-term potential to involve more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs. This year some smaller grants will be available for shorter-term activities to help arts groups engage with part of the disability community and cover their expenses in doing so (such as language interpreting, Braille programs, captioning, assistive listening units, etc.). Groups must be located in the 7-county metropolitan region and have an annual budget less than 4,460,000.

For grant guidelines, application, and the dates/locations of information meetings and accessibility workshops, contact VSA Minnesota at 612-332-3888, email, or go to Deadlines: March 14 and May 16, 2014.


This program, administered by VSA Minnesota, is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


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MRAC Arts Management Training  


Arts Partnership Speed-Dating 2.0
Facilitated by Rob Routhieaux, Hamline University
At Neighborhood House/Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul, MN 55107


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.


Save the Dates in March!!

March 6, 2014 - The Art of Data

March 11, 2014 - Management Consulting Fund and Working with a Consultant 


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.

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

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 Grand Marais Art Colony Artist Residency Program is a two-week residency for artists designed to provide uninterrupted work time in a quiet natural setting. The residency will take place March 31 - April 14, 2014. More information is available at Deadline: February 16, 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.


Grin City Collective is currently accepting applications for their Emerging Artist Residency for undergraduate artists. During the summer, Grin City invites nine college level writers, visual or performance artists for a special, subsidized four-week residency at their 320-acre farm in central Iowa a mile north of the town of Grinnell. More information is available at Deadline: March 10, 2014. 


The Bush Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and government entities of all sizes for their Community Innovation Grants. The grants, ranging from $10,000 up to $200,000, will support communities to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. More information is available at Deadline: March 13, 2014.


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   


Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, is accepting project support grant proposals for arts-related projects. To be considered, projects must meet Rimon's mission to promote and enhance Jewish identity through arts and culture, support arts and artists who broadly explore Jewish themes, and assist the greater Jewish community in developing a collaborative involvement with the arts. For more information visit Deadline: March 17, 2014.  

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.

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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forwardForward to a Friend

Please forward our e-newsletter to people who may be interested in information about MRAC grant deadlines and awards, workshops, training opportunities, resource updates, and other MRAC news. We do not share our e-mail subscriber list with others.

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.