topMRAC e-newsletter
July 2014 
In This Issue
Arts Activities Support Awards
Next Step Fund Awards
Arts Activities Support Deadline
OD/Cap Application Workshops
Annual Meeting
FY 2015 Deadlines
Resource Updates
Holiday Hours
FY 2013 Annual Report
Photos Needed!
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FY 2013 Summary
Quick Links

In 2009, as a result of the new arts and cultural heritage fund, MRAC began a partnership with VSA Minnesota that established the ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations to increase access to the arts for people with disabilities. This grant program's purpose is to enable nonprofit arts organizations in the 7-county Twin Cities area to improve their programs, projects, equipment, or facilities in ways that have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.  

Founded in 1986, VSA Minnesota is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and access the arts. In the fiscal year that ended on June 30th, VSA Minnesota awarded grants to 16 metro area organizations to make their facilities and/or their programs more accessible, and since the advent of the program, 83 projects have been funded totaling
960,143. The ADA Access Improvement program is yet another tremendous outcome of the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The ADA Access Improvement Grants program has two deadlines per year; the next deadline will be announced in early fall.



Jeff Prauer

Executive Director 


Arts Activities Support Grant Awards

On June 24, 2014, MRAC awarded a total of 697,732 to 73 organizations/projects in the second round of the FY 2014 Arts Activities Support grant program. The organizations and projects chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a community connection. This round's funded projects include: a Halloween puppet extravaganza, the writing and production of a play about social issues for Hmong teens, and an Arab film festival, as well as a variety of theater performances, dance and music series, artist studio crawls, workshops and more.


Click on the link for a list of grantees sorted by county of affiliation that includes award amounts, project summaries, and links to the grantees' websites. Please note that the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are separated from suburban Hennepin and suburban Ramsey counties.


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Next Step Fund Grant Awards

On June 24, 2014, MRAC awarded a total of 182,586 to 38 individual artists in the FY 2014 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 340 artists who applied for the 38 grants given. Fifty-six 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.

Click the link for an alphabetical list of Next Step Fund grant recipients with short project descriptions.


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Arts Activities Support Deadline 

The FY 2015 Arts Activities Support, Round 1 grant application deadline is Monday, July 14, 2014 with an earliest project start date of September 24, 2014. Applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date. "Submitted" means that your application has been received and time-stamped by the MRAC Grant Interface server. Grant guidelines and a link to the online grant application interface are available on the Arts Activities Support grant program page.

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Organizational Development and Capital Grant Workshops

The FY 2015 Organizational Development and Capital grant application deadlines are Monday, September 8, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. with an earliest project start date of November 26, 2014. Grant guidelines and a link to the online grant application interface are available on the respective grant program pages. The application interface for these two programs will be activated starting July 28.

MRAC offers workshops designed to help groups prepare MRAC Organizational Development and Capital grant applications. Participants become familiar with the program, online application process, and learn how to write effective MRAC grant proposals. The workshops will be specific to each grant program. Please click the linked workshop date to register.

Organizational Development
Monday, July 28, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 30, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 1, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Monday, August 4, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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

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Annual Meeting and Arts Achievement Awards 

MRAC's annual meeting will be held on July 22, 2014 at the MPLS Photo Center in the Vivian Maier gallery at 2400 North 2nd St., Minneapolis, MN 55411 starting at 4:30 p.m.

At the annual meeing, MRAC will honor Saint Paul Art Collective and Yellow Tree Theatre as this year's Arts Achievement Award recipients. Full write-ups will be in the August newsletter.

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FY 2015 Grant Application Deadlines

Below are the FY 2015 grant application deadlines. All applications must be submitted using the online MRAC Grant Interface. Unless otherwise noted, all applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date. "Submitted" means that your application has been received and time-stamped by the MRAC Grant Interface server.  


7/14/2014   Arts Activities Support, Round 1

9/8/2014     Capital

9/8/2014     Organizational Development

10/6/2014   Community Arts, Round 1

11/3/2014   Arts Learning, Round 1

1/12/2015   Community Arts, Round 2

3/2/2015     Arts Learning, Round 2

3/2/2015     Next Step Fund, (11:59 p.m.)

4/6/2015     Arts Activities Support, Round 2

4/13/2015   Arts Achievement Award


Weekly           Management Training Fund

Weekly           Emergency Accessibility

Monthly         Management Consulting Fund


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

The Minnesota State Arts Board's Artist Initiative program supports and assists artists at various stages in their careers. It encourages artistic development, nurtures artistic creativity, and recognizes the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota. More information is available at Deadlines for the FY 2015 Artist Initiative grant applications:

  • Performing arts; dance, music, and theater: July 11, 2014
  • Visual arts; media arts, and photography, and visual arts: August 1, 2014   


The Minnesota State Fair's Fine Arts Department presents an annual juried art competition open to Minnesota residents. Works selected by the jurors will be displayed in the Fine Arts Center during the State Fair. In 2013, a total of 1,885 pieces were submitted and 340 works were accepted. More information is available at Deadline: July 7, 2014.


The Minnesota State Arts Board's Cultural Community Partnership program is designed to enhance the artistic and career development of artists of color. It supports collaborative projects between two individual artists or between an artist and an organization. More information is available at Deadline: July 18, 2014.  


Knight Foundation is looking for great projects that will make the diverse neighborhoods along the Green Line in St. Paul even more vibrant places to live, work, play and visit. Any individual, business or nonprofit can apply. The project must take place in and benefit at least one St. Paul neighborhood along the Green Line. More information is available at Deadline: July 24, 2014.


The Minnesota State Arts Board's Arts Tour Minnesota program is designed to give Minnesotans greater access to high quality artists and arts organizations, regardless of geography. Arts Tour Minnesota project grants support touring performances, exhibitions, and other related arts activities throughout the state. More information is available at Deadline: July 25, 2014.


The Saint Paul Foundation is supporting the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council in determining live/work spaces for artists in downtown Hastings. They have created an online survey to see what artists need and want. The geographic parameters for the study is a 50 mile radius of Hastings. If you are within this radius, please click on the survey link:      


Springboard for the Arts' Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists workshops are being offered for free by the Hennepin County Libraries. Click the link for more information:


Arts Midwest recently released a report, Capacity building and resilience, that investigates how small and mid-sized arts organizations learn, adapt, and grow. Examining the experiences of eight ArtsLab participants, the report identifies four capacities that have helped organizations in Minnesota and North Dakota thrive in the face of operational challenges, staffing and leadership changes, and shifts in funding. Click the link above to find out more. 


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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MRAC Holiday Hours

MRAC will be closed on Friday, July 4, 2014 for Independence Day.

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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 arts activities and arts 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

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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.