July 1, 2014

For Immediate Release
Mara Miller
(651) 523-6384

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) Awards
Next Step Fund Grants to 38 Individual Artists

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.

The following is an alphabetical list of Next Step Fund grant recipients with short project descriptions.

Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew                                                  $5,000

Literature - general

Funding to promote the author's first novel and to engage with her audience.


Paul Boehnke                                                                       $5,000 

Music - solo/recital

Funding for the editing and duplication of a solo CD, and acquisition of an amplification system necessary for colaborations with jazz musicians.


Charles Campbell                                                               $5,000 

Theater - general

Funding to study the work of Tadeusz Kantor at the Cricoteka Center in Krakow, Poland


Lisa Channer                                                                        $5,000 

Theater - general

Funding to shadow two TV and film directors in Los Angeles.


Mary Ellen Childs                                                              $5,000 

Music - new/experimental/electronic

Funding to assist with the research and development of a new body of work combining music and scent.


Joe Chvala                                                                            $5,000 


Funding to create a demo reel for use in promoting the artist's work as a theater director.


Pete Driessen                                                                       $5,000 

Visual Arts - general

Funding to purchase materials and cover production costs to create a boat sculpture at Silverwood Park.


Andrew Foreman                                                                 $5,000 

Music - jazz

Funding to purchase equipment and hire musicians to create an online video series of original music compositions.


Troy Gallas                                                                          $5,000 

Design Arts - architecture

Funding to purchase tools and equipment to further practice as a public artist.


Karen Gustafson                                                                 $5,000 

05 - Visual Arts - general

Funding to purchase two medical-grade skeleton models.


Emily Gunyou Halaas                                                        $5,000 

Theater - general

Funding to study Clown at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in France.


Amara Hark-Weber                                                             $5,000 

Crafts - leather

Funding to attend a master class in shoe-making in Sweden.


Alison Heimstead                                                                $5,000 

Theater - puppetry

Funding to constuct an in-home studio space.


Jessica Huang                                                                       $5,000 

Literature - playwriting/scriptwriting

Funding to attend the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists' 4th National Asian American Conference and Festival, and to share the playwright's play with a national audience.


Mathew Janczewski                                                            $5,000 

Dance - modern

Funding for the creation of a business plan to promote the choreographer's work to a broader, national audience.


Tynan Kerr                                                                           $5,000 

Visual Arts - general

Funding to purchase a ceramics kiln, wheel, and materials for a home studio.


Michelle Kinney                                                                 $5,000 

Music - new/experimental/electronic

Funding to record a CD of instrumental music created from improvisations played while accompanying dance classes.


James Kleiner                                                                       $5,000 

Crafts - paper

Funding to study and document the process of making traditionally-influenced, double-face laid mold and deckles for hand papermaking.


Nickolai Kolarov                                                                $5,000 

Music - new/experimental/electronic

Funding to record and produce the first CD of the musician's work.


Justin Leaf                                                                            $5,000 


Funding for a year of training for vocal performance, which will culminate in a public performance.


Michael Lee                                                                          $5,000 

Literature - poetry

Funding to complete a poetry manuscript, submit it to publishers and contests, and to host a free reading upon completion.


Douglas Limón                                                                    $5,000 

Folk - traditional crafts/visual arts

Funding to purchase a CNC Shark Routing System and complimentary equipment.


Karen Majewicz                                                                  $5,000 

Music - chamber

Funding to purchase a custom made converter accordion.


Wynne Mattila                                                                    $5,000 

Crafts - fiber

Funding to hire an editor and writing coach to assist with the completion of an instructional book on the artist's rug weaving process.


Hieu Nguyen                                                                       $5,000 

Literature - poetry

Funding to promote and tour with the author's debut full-length poetry collection.


Marie Olofsdotter                                                              $5,000 

Visual Arts - graphics

Funding for a writing coach, software consultation, flatbed scanner and honararia to support the creation of a wordless picture book.


Pooja Pavan                                                                         $5,000 

Music - ethnic/folk-inspired

Funding to study Songs of Benares with a master teacher in India.


Aaron Preusse                                                                      $5,000 

Theater - general

Funding to attend and complete the Teacher Certification Workshop for stage combat provided by the Society of American Fight Directors.


Patrick Rhone                                                                      $4,166 

Literature - nonfiction

Funding to assist with the writing and research for a new book of nonfiction covering the author's family history.


Peyton Russell                                                                    $5,000 

Visual Arts - experimental

Funding to write a book on the subject of teaching graffiti art esthetics in schools.


Davu Seru                                                                             $2,800 

Music - jazz

Funding to purchase a new custom drum kit.


Carrie Henneman Shaw                                                     $4,120 

Opera/Musical Theater

Funding to attend a commedia dell'arte training program in Italy.


Emily Stover                                                                        $5,000

Design Arts - general

Funding for interactive programming training and equipment.


Charlotte Sullivan                                                             $5,000 

Literature - general

Funding to develop a book presentation for school visits.


Saymoukda Vongsay                                                          $5,000 

Theater - general

Funding for brand development and to attend the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival.


David Walton                                                                      $1,500

Opera/Musical Theater

Funding to rent audio and video recording equipment, and for professional coaching to record five opera arias for tenor.


Paul Wegner                                                                        $5,000 


Funding to digitally scan negatives, and print and frame images for the artist's first solo exhibition.


Christy Wetzig                                                                    $5,000 

Crafts - clay

Funding to build a new bourry box kiln.


About the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council


The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) increases access to the arts in 7-county metropolitan area communities by providing information, organizational support and grants. MRAC serves nonprofit arts groups in the 7-county metropolitan region (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties) with annualized operating expenses less than $400,000. MRAC is primarily funded through 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 serves individual artists through the Next Step Fund grant program through a generous grant from The McKnight Foundation.

The McKnight Foundation's arts program is founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. The McKnight Foundation supports working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities.

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