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March 27, 2014

For Immediate Release
Mara Miller
(651) 523-6384
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) Awards 323,167 in Community Arts Grants to 69 Organizations

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. This round's funded projects include: the Art at Rice Creek arts festival in Anoka County, a Nordic Music Festival in Carver County, Art... Be A Part activities in Dakota County, arts exploration workshops for youth in Washington County and many other theater, art, and music events around the seven-county metro area.  

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 following is 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. 


Anoka County


Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts                                    $5,000


Funding for Art at Rice Creek, a free arts festival on the banks of Rice Creek and the Mississippi River in Anoka County. The daylong festival will feature visual, literary, and performance art experiences and will take place in September 2014.


Bells of the Lakes                            $5,000


Funding for a series of four concerts designed to introduce communities to the new musical art of handbells. Concerts will take place at four different metro area venues between April 2014 and January 2015.


City of Blaine                                    $3,900


Funding for the seventh annual Blaine World Fest Celebration, a public event exploring the cultural arts and ethnicities that currently exist in the City. The event will take place in September 2014.


Fridley Community Theatre                                 $5,000


Funding to produce and stage the organization's fifth summer musical, Kiss Me Kate. Performances will take place in July 2014 at the Fridley District Auditorium.


Northern Symphony Orchestra                            $4,225


Funding for the 2014-15 season, featuring two traditional orchestral music concerts as well as a new music reading session and a semi-staged production of Les Miserables. Performances will take place at Anoka High School between November 2014 and June 2015.


Carver County


Centre Stage Theatre and Arts                                 $5,000

Funding to produce the musical Oliver by Lionel Bart. Performances will take place at Central High School in Norwood Young America in August 2014.    


Nordic Heritage Club                                 $5,000


Funding for the sixth annual Nordic Music Festival modeled after a traditional Nordic fiddler's festival. The event will take place at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park in September 2014.


Dakota County


Drama Interaction                          $5,000


Funding for the Educational Performance Project, an eight-week drama class for ten pre-selected children between the ages of 8 and 12 with physical or developmental challenges. Activities will take place between April and July 2014 and culminate in a presentation to a small group of invited guests at In The Company of Kids Creative Arts Center in Burnsville.


Eagan Parks and Recreation                                 $5,000


Funding for Art... Be A Part! featuring guest artists workshops, Artist Connect Activities, and the annual Harvest of Art exhibit and open house. The activities will take place from April through December 2014.


Farmington Area Community Education                                   $5,000


Funding for Vermilion Voices, a four concert music series offered for free to residents of the Farmington School District. Concerts will take place at Boeckman Middle School in Farmington between October 2014 and February 2015.


International Festival of Burnsville                                $5,000


Funding for the International Festival of Burnsville featuring an indoor art exhibit, international cultural display booths, and an outdoor festival with a parade of flags, traditional attire, ethnic foods, and family art activities. The festival will be held at Nicollet Commons Park and the Burnsville Performing Arts Center in July 2014.


Minnesota Brass, Inc.                                 $5,000


Funding for Sounds of Minnesota, a drum and bugle competition featuring seven drum corps from the Midwest. The event will take place at South St. Paul High School in August 2014.


Mississippi Valley Orchestra                               $5,000


Funding for Music on the Breeze, a free orchestral concert featuring past and present students of Henry Sibley High School. The concert will take place at Augustana Lutheran Church in West St. Paul in June 2014.




Ancia Saxophone Quartet                          $5,000


Funding to perform two concerts featuring new and traditional works for saxophone quartet. Performances will take place at Studio Z and the Weisman Art Museum in May 2014.


Balkanicus Ensemble                                 $4,750


Funding for Balkanicus, a free concert featuring contemporary Balkan chamber music. The concert will take place at the University of Minnesota Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall in April 2014.


Byzantine Choral Festival                         $3,938

Funding for the Fifth Annual Byzantine Choral Festival, featuring a free workshop and public concert. The concert of diverse ethnic choral traditions will take place at St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church in October 2014.


Christopher Watson Dance Company                             $4,260


Funding for the 13th annual Dances at the Lakes concert featuring original works by 12 local dance companies and choreographers. The free performance will take place at the Lake Harriet Rose Garden in Summer 2014.


Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis                           $5,000


Funding for three free orchestral concerts focused on reaching new audiences. Performances will take place at the Wayzata Community Church, Lake Nokomis Community School, and the Lake Harriet Band Shell between May and July 2014.


Courageous heARTS                                   $5,000


Funding to engage a cohort of high school students from Minneapolis Public Schools in an arts-based curriculum called Project RestART, a prevention tool combining expressive arts and restorative practices intended to reconnect youth to their personal learning goals and school community. The program will culminate in a collective art project to be presented to the broader community in September 2014.


Documentary Empowerment Project (CTEP)                           $4,285

Funding for The Digital Divide Documentary Empowerment Project, a community film project involving youth of color that addresses issues of inequality in North Minneapolis. A public screening of the documentary will premiere at the Capri Theater in August 2014.


Grassroots Culture                         $5,000

Funding to create and produce 16 show segments for a weekly bluegrass music radio program featuring Phil Nusbaum, Lyle Lofgren, and Adam Granger. Segments will be aired on eight Bluegrass Review shows in July and August 2014.


Gremlin Theatre                             $5,000


Funding to produce Rocket to the Moon by American Playwright Clifford Odets. Performances will take place at the New Century Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis in May 2014.


Hope Community, Inc.                               $5,000

Funding for The Power of Vision, a neighborhood mural program that will engage approximately 30 youth in developing arts and leadership skills. The project will take place between April and September 2014 and culminate in a public mural and community unveiling ceremony.


Ka Joog                                  $5,000


Funding for Fanka, a participatory art program focused on Somali youth consisting of five, weekly workshops in the Somali oral poetry art form led by recognized Somali teaching artists. The workshops will culminate in two public presentations at the Southern Theater and Walker Art Center in summer 2014.


Kinship of Rivers                            $5,000


Funding for We Are Water, a one-month multimedia exhibition and performance at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. Activities will take place in May and June 2014.


Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota                               $5,000


Funding for a training and mentoring program with Lao theater artists to dramatize refugee family stories. The program will culminate in two weekends of public performances in August and October 2014.


Madame of the Arts                                    $5,000

Funding for three small-scale community-building arts series for the LGBTQA community. Activities will take place at Madame of the Arts in Minneapolis between April and December 2014.


Metro Work Center, Inc.                            $4,000


Funding for a group sculpture project, created under the direction of artist Sara Hanson, that will provide adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to experience the metal sculpture process and gain skills from tactile and social interactions. The project will culminate in a public sculpture to be displayed at the organization's Minneapolis location.


Minneapolis Southside Singers                            $5,000


Funding to present 20 free concerts to under-served audiences across the seven-county metropolitan area between April 2014 and March 2015.


Oromo Culture Institute                            $5,000


Funding for six months of traditional Oromo dance and music classes tailored to members of the Oromo community lacking access to traditional Oromo arts and culture. The program will culminate in a performance for the larger Oromo and Twin Cities community in December 2014.


Poetry for People                            $5,000

Funding for the second annual Poetry Picnic in Powderhorn Park, a free all-ages event combining poetry and a community feast to mark the period in summer when the days are the longest. The event will take place at Powderhorn Park in June 2014.


Screenwriters Workshop                         $3,500


Funding for WEBISODE IN A DAY, an event bringing the Minnesota writing community together to write internet webisodes. Thirteen of the best webisodes will be selected for a public reading by professional actors in fall 2014.


Simply ArtAble                                $5,000


Funding for Simply ArtAble outreach classes, providing free art classes to children of all ages and abilities at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Classes will take place between May and September 2014.


SunsetGun Productions                             $5,000

Funding to conduct a two-week workshop to develop RETROSPECTIVE, a new play by Chris Van Strander. The workshop will culminate in two public performances in June 2014. The activities will take place at the Ivy Building in Minneapolis.


The Dream Songs Project                          $5,000


Funding to commission and perform a new work for classical voice and guitar by Minnesota composer Randy Bauer. The piece will be included in three concerts and two outreach premiere performances for seniors and high school youth in January and February 2015.


The Eclectic Ensemble                               $4,884


Funding for Music of the Sun performances of improvisational ambient music in metro area public spaces during summer 2014.


The Urban Spectrum Theatre Company                         $5,000


Funding for So Blue, an original production set in the blues era of the 1920's to 1940's, featuring community residents, musicians, actors and dancers. Performances will take place in August 2014 at the Driftwood Char Bar in Minneapolis.


Time Track Productions                           $5,000


Funding for The AUTOMATIC MESSAGE, a new evening-length dance work exploring surrealist concepts through movement, set design and projected imagery. The work will premiere at the JSB TEKBOX in the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in September 2014.


TuckUnder Projects                                   $5,000


Funding for the TuckUnder Project, a series of site-specific visual art exhibitions and community arts programming. Exhibitions will take place at the TuckUnder site in Minneapolis during 2014.


Voice of Culture Drum and Dance                                   $5,000


Funding for four new works of African drum and dance performance, each to be created, costumed and premiered individually at four established performance venues. The works will then be combined and presented at a free community concert in North Minneapolis in August 2014.


Wisdom Dances                              $5,000


Funding for the Culture of Water Leadership Summit, a daylong event for culturally-based music and dance groups to develop their role as cultural leaders and to interpret their cultural traditions in relation to local storm water issues. The summit will be held at Tapestry Folkdance Center in June 2014.


Scott County


Czech Heritage Club                                   $3,005


Funding for the fifth annual European Christmas Event featuring traditional folk dancers and singers, artisans and craft vendors and family friendly activities. The event will take place at the American Legion Park Ballroom in New Prague in December 2014.


St. Paul


Ally People Solutions                                 $5,000


Funding for the Artful Employment Studio Arts Project, a 24-week creative arts program for up to 20 individuals with developmental disabilities who are participants in Ally People Solutions programs. Activities will take place at the Business Solutions branch site in St. Paul between March and December 2014.


Crow With No Mouth Promotions                                  $5,000


Funding for a six-concert series presenting composers and performers working in contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation. Concerts will be held at Studio Z in St. Paul between April and November 2014.


Lazy Hmong Woman Productions                                  $5,000

Funding for nine performances of "The Divorcee Diaries," an original play by May Lee-Yang that explores how divorce has transformed the traditional nuclear Hmong family systems. Performances will take place at Stargate Nightclub in St. Paul in September 2014.


The Illicit Sextet                              $5,000


Funding for the All Originals Jazz Series of ten weekly jazz performances at Studio Z featuring local jazz ensembles that specialize in performing original jazz compositions. Performances will take place between May and July 2014.


The Singers - Minnesota Choral Artists                         $5,000


Funding to present New Horizons: Music of Today, a concert of world premiere performances, including St. Paul composer Abbie Betinis' First Ladies Suite. Performances will take place at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul in May 2014.


Twin Cities Labor Chorus                         $5,000

Funding for 9 to 12 choral performances in the metro area between April and December 2014.


Twin Cities World Refugee Day                           $5,000


Funding for Twin Cities Refugee Day, a cultural festival featuring more than 50 local organizations serving refugees. The festival will take place in June 2014 at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul.


West Side Community Organization                               $1,590


Funding for Art on the Avenue, a walking art festival along Smith Avenue on St. Paul's West Side in August 2014.


Suburban Hennepin County


4 Community Theatre                                $5,000


Funding for six performances of the musical Wizard of Oz at Orono High School Auditorium in July 2014.


After 5                                   $1,905


Funding for Jazz and Jive After 5, six performances with a variety of musical styles presented to communities with limited arts access in the seven-county metro area between April and December 2014.


Chain Reaction Theatre Project                           $5,000


Funding for Choices, an original theatrical production written by Artistic Director Shelly Smith. Performances will take place at Transfiguration Lutheran Church in Bloomington in May and at Old Arizona Theater in Minneapolis in June 2014.


Discovery Arts Council                              $3,550

Funding for the annual Orono International Festival celebrating the diversity and culture that exists within the six communities of the Orono School District. The festival will take place in October 2014.


Hopkins Westwind Concert Band                                   $5,000


Funding for its 2014 Summer Concert Season, including the Raspberry Festival of Bands event.  Five concerts will be held in June and July around the metro area.


Minnesota Association of Songwriters                          $5,000


Funding for the Songwriting Workshop Series featuring four nationally known professional songwriters who will each present a five-hour workshop on one of the many elements of songwriting. The workshops will take place at the recital hall at Schmitt Music in Edina between April and December 2014 .


Perspectives, Inc.                            $5,000

Funding for The Family Dish, a pottery project offered to at-risk families in the Kids Connection program featuring a series of workshops culminating in a celebration dinner. Activities will take place at Perspectives Family Center in St. Louis Park in April and November 2014.


Westonka Community Education and Services                                    $5,000


Funding for a Music in the Park series of six free concerts on Thursday evenings in Mound during summer 2014.


Suburban Ramsey County


Mounds View Community Theatre                                 $5,000


Funding for 12 performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Performances will take place at Irondale High School in New Brighton in July 2014.


North Suburban Chorus                            $5,000

Funding for 40 choral performances presented at nursing, healthcare, and retirement centers in the north suburban area from April through December 2014.


Partners in Praise Girls Choir                             $5,000


Funding for the seventh annual PIPFEST, a choral festival hosting 11 youth choirs and featuring guest artist and conductor Stephen Hatfield. The festival will take place at Bethel University's Benson Great Hall in May 2014.


Roseville Parks and Recreation                           $5,000


Funding for the Live at the Rog performance series of family-friendly events held on summer evenings and featuring signature events based on a monthly theme. The series will be held at the Roseville Central Park Frank Rog Amphitheater in summer 2014.


Solid Ground                                    $3,660


Funding for Young Stars of Solid Ground, a six-week theater camp experience for children in 3rd through 8th grade at Solid Ground's supportive housing for homeless families in White Bear Lake. Activities will take place in November and December 2014 and culminate in a public performance.


Vox Nova Chorale                            $5,000


Funding for On the Horizon, two free concerts of classical choral music and original new compositions, in collaboration with three nationally known clinicians who will work with the young emerging singers and composers. Concerts will take place in August 2014 in Roseville and St. Paul.


Washington County


FamilyMeans                                    $5,000


Funding for the Arts Exploration Workshop, free weekly art experiences for youth ages 5 to 18 in the mobile home community of Landfall. Art experiences will include residencies with COMPAS artists and a workshop with Juxtaposition Arts and take place at the Teen Center from June 2014 through January 2015.


Judd Street Film Coalition                         $4,200

Funding for Calling All Filmmakers, a six-month curated film series featuring Minnesota based film makers. Screenings will take place at the City of Marine Village Hall between October 2014 and March 2015.


Music Saint Croix                            $5,000


Funding for two concerts in their 2014 - 2015 concert series featuring a free performance with Valley Chamber Chorale and the St. Croix Jazz Orchestra at Trinity Lutheran Church and Leonard Bernstein's Candide at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater. Concerts will take place in Fall 2014.


Valley Friendship Club                              $2,515


Funding to work with Serena Asta in a four-week Zentangle artistic teaching residency for people with disabilities. Activities will take place at the Lake Elmo Library and culminate in an exhibition/reception for the community in November 2014.


Washington County 4-H Federation                                $5,000


Funding for County Arts-In, a four-day intensive performing arts camp for youth ages 13 to 19. The camp will take place at the Washington County Fairgrounds in July and culminate with performances at the Washington County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair in July and August 2014.


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 2013, MRAC received 802 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. 

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