topMRAC e-newsletter
April 2014 
In This Issue
Community Arts Grant Awards
MRAC Receives Legacy Partner Award!
Arts Activities Support Deadline
Arts Achievement Award Nominations!
Arts Learning Panels
ADA Access Improvement Grants
Arts Management Training
Resource Updates
Website Update
FY 2013 Annual Report
Photos Needed!
FY 2014 Grant Deadlines
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FY 2013 Summary
Quick Links

Thank you to everyone who attended Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on March 27th! Once again, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts did a fabulous job of organizing meetings with legislators. But please remember that Arts Advocacy Day is not your only opportunity to communicate with your legislators. They really do want and need to hear from constituents (especially when anyone comes just to thank them, as we did on Advocacy Day). The information you provide on how your community is being strengthened is important to them, not only now during the legislative session, but all year as well.  

The deadline for nominations for the 2014 MRAC Arts Achievement Award is Monday, April 14, 2014. Now in its sixth year, the MRAC Arts Achievement Award will recognize up to two organizations that particularly exemplify MRAC's mission of incorporating the arts into the daily lives of communities. These awards will celebrate and provide public recognition of the great work that arts organizations in our region are doing to cause artists and arts activities to thrive, integrate the arts into communities, and enhance understanding of the public value of the arts.

Accompanied by a cash award of 5,000, the MRAC Arts Achievement Award is intended to call attention to outstanding contributions that arts organizations, with budgets under 400,000, make toward strengthening communities in the 7-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Because these awards are not for specific projects, the guidelines, application and review process are considerably simpler than our other grant programs. However, with so many outstanding small arts organizations in the region, the Arts Achievement Award will be highly competitive. Organizations are nominated for the Arts Achievement Award, so an organization can nominate itself, or it can be nominated by anyone. However, if you nominate your organization, it is not necessarily advantageous to solicit other nominations for your organization. Click here for the nomination information, or contact Shannon Forney at, or 651-523-6391.


Jeff Prauer

Executive Director 


Community Arts Grant Awards

On March 25, 2014, MRAC awarded 323,167 to 69 organizations/projects in the second round of its FY 2014 Community Arts grant program. The organizations and projects chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a connection to a community. 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.

Click here 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 cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are separated from the surrounding suburban Hennepin and suburban Ramsey counties.

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MRAC Receives Statewide Recognition for Effective Use of Legacy Funds

On March 27, in front of hundreds of cheering arts advocates for Arts Advocacy Day, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council along with the Minnesota State Arts Board and the other ten Regional Arts Councils received "Legacy Partners" awards for effective and extensive use of public panels to make grant decisions. Between them, the twelve agencies worked with 768 people who provided more than 34,000 volunteer hours of expertise on the best use of state arts dollars. In this fiscal year alone, MRAC is proud to report that 298 people (18 board members and 280 panelists) have contributed 9,120 hours of service to help MRAC meet its mission of increasing access to the arts in 7-county metropolitan area communities. 


"The participation by residents of the region in funding decisions allows us to meet our commitment to transparency and accountability," said Executive Director Jeff Prauer after accepting the award.   


MRAC is very proud of our open panel review process, and we want to extend a huge thank you to our many volunteers for making our process work!


Arts Activities Support Deadline

The deadline for Arts Activities Support, Round 2 grant applications is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 7, 2014 with an earliest project start date of June 25, 2014.

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

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Arts Achievement Award Nominations
You do great work! Tell us about it.

MRAC is requesting nominations for its annual MRAC Arts Achievement Awards.

The MRAC Arts Achievement Award is designed to call attention to the outstanding contributions that arts organizations with annual expenses less than $400,000 make toward strengthening communities and increasing access to the arts in the 7-county metropolitan region (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties).

Nominators are asked to describe how organizations are exemplary in:
  • Causing artists and arts activities to thrive; and/or
  • Integrating the arts into the social fabric and identity of a community, and/or
  • Enhancing understanding of the public value of the arts.
The awards are accompanied by a $5,000 cash payment. Unlike other MRAC grants, the Arts Achievement Award is not given for specific projects or programs, but rather for the overall work that the organization does to strengthen communities through the arts. 

Organizations can be nominated or may nominate themselves; but if you nominate your own organization, it is not necessarily advantageous to solicit other nominations for your organization. Organizations that meet MRAC eligibility requirements for any other MRAC grant are eligible. The MRAC Board of Directors will review nominations and select up to two recipients annually. Past award winners can be viewed at

Click on the link for full nomination information. Nominations may be emailed to Deadline: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
Arts Learning, Round 2 Grant Panels    


The FY 2014 Arts Learning, Round 2 grant applications will be reviewed May 20, 21, and 22. Panel review schedules will be available in our May e-newsletter and on our website in May. 


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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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 Deadline: 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  

Making Your Social Media Visual with Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr
Presented by Holly Harrison, Paper Darts
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Ave., W. St. Paul, MN 55114

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to your social media strategy, being visual is a must. This session will explore how and why visual communication on social media is so effective, and help you take steps to leverage visuals in your posts. We'll also talk about the big three, image-rich niche platforms of Pinterest, Instragram and Tumblr--how they work, who uses them, and best practices.

Holly Harrison is the web editor and social media coordinator at Planned Parenthood Minnesota and the marketing director at Paper Darts, an online literary magazine that prides itself on its robust social media presence. Between these two roles, Holly regularly utilizes and explores new media platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram as she curates online content, implements strategies to broaden the organizations' digital presence, and builds relationships with their subscribers.

Volunteers Are Priceless: Recruiting, Training, and Managing Volunteers
Presented by: Judy Sharken Simon, MAP for Nonprofits and Zeeda Magnuson, HandsOn Twin Cities
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Ave W., St. Paul, MN 55114

What inspires people to volunteer and/or serve on a board? What are the components of a successful volunteer program? In this session, Judy Sharken Simon from MAP for Nonprofits and Zeeda Magnuson from HandsOn Twin Cities will take you from recruiting volunteers and board members, through orientation and training, to supervising and motivating these valuable advocates for your organization. You will learn how to write a volunteer position description, the rights and responsibilities of volunteers and paid staff, and best practices that you can implement with your volunteers.

Judy Sharken Simon is a senior consultant at MAP for Nonprofits where she works with organizations on board development, organizational development and strategic processes and planning. She also manages MAP's Best on Board® program, volunteer program and board training programs. She holds a BA degree in Employee Relations from Michigan State University and a MA degree in Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota.

Zeeda Magnuson is the associate director of HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC) where she develops and facilitates the HOTC training calendar, and conducts workshops for corporate and nonprofit audiences in volunteer management. Zeeda has taught classes for the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University and is a recipient of the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration's "Excellence in Leadership Award."

The workshops are free, but we ask that you register in advance. Please click on the linked workshop date to register. Sessions are capped at 35, so it is advisable to register early. 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.)     

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts will open a new concert hall in the spring of 2015, the culmination of a collaborative effort by the Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Schubert Club, and the Ordway. This 1,100 seat venue will serve as the home of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and also accommodate other artists and organizations. On Thursday, May 1, at 3:30 p.m. the Ordway will host a meeting and hard-hat tour for artists and arts organizations who may be interested in using the new concert hall. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to


The Minnesota State Arts Board's Arts Learning grant program offers funding for projects that help lifelong learners acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. More information is available at Deadline: April 25, 2014. 


The Minnesota State Arts Board's Folk and Traditional Arts grant program is designed to support the artistic traditions and customs practiced within community and/or cultural groups by identifying, documenting, creating, preserving, presenting, and honoring Minnesota's folk arts and traditions. All projects must have a public component such as a concert, exhibition, documentary, workshop, or other activity that engages members of the public in the work of Minnesota's folk and traditional artists. More information is available at

Deadline: May 2, 2014.


The Minnesota State Fair is currently accepting proposals from Minnesota performing arts organizations to participate in the 2014 Arts A'Fair project. Selected arts organizations will entertain fair guests in surprise pop-up showcases throughout the fairgrounds. More information is available at Deadline April 25, 2014.


U.S. Congressman John Kline is requesting 2nd district high school student art submissions for the annual "Artistic Discovery" competition, which provides high school students the chance to share their artistic ability. The annual competition includes paintings, drawings, collages, prints, photography, computer generated art, and mixed media presentations. More information is available at Deadline: April 25, 2014.


The Minnesota Museum of American Art has opened its application for the upcoming 2014 Minnesota Biennial art competition. The competition is open to all Minnesota artists, and intends to offer the public a snapshot of the best art and craft being made throughout the state today and to celebrate the many different and unique forms that artistic ingenuity takes in Minnesota. More information is available at Deadline: April 18, 2014.     


Women's Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM) is seeking mentors for the 2015-2016 cycle of its Mentor/Protégée program. WARM's Mentor Program pairs emerging artists and professional women artists for a two-year mentoring period. More information is available at Deadline: May 25, 2014.


The Cultural Data Project (CDP) can help your organization view, analyze, and talk about your internal data in new (and even exciting!) ways. CDP has upcoming training sessions to set the groundwork for you to use this data thoughtfully and effectively, always with the goal of strengthening your organization's ability to do what you do best. For more information and to register to attend one of their training sessions visit:  


The Minnesota State Arts Board requests proposals from professional public artists or artist teams to design, fabricate, and install a permanent, site-specific public artwork within the new Bioscience and Health Careers Center at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. To request the RFP, e-mail Ben Owen, Percent for Art program officer at Deadline: April 22, 2014. 


The Nonprofits Assistance Fund has developed a series of financial trainings customized for the distinctive nature of small and large arts and cultural organizations. The training opportunities are being presented free of cost (thanks to funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board and National Endowment for the Arts) but registration is required. Visit for more information. 

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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Website Update!

MRAC has added a Manage My Grant web page with direct links to the Grant Interfaces and directions for grant agreements and final reports.

If you have suggestions about how we can improve the website, please send them to

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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.

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.