topMRAC e-newsletter
March 2015 
In This Issue
Arts Achievement Award Nominations
Arts Activities Support Workshops
Community Arts Panels
Creative Minnesota
MRAC Arts Management Training
MRAC Locals Session
ADA Access Improvement Grants
FY 2014 Annual Report
Legacy Signs
Arts & Culture Funders Database
Resource Updates
FY 2015 Deadlines
Photos Needed!
Forward to a Friend
FY 2014 Summary
Quick Links

We have known for a long time that the arts and culture are important to Minnesota. They enhance our quality of life, bring diverse communities together, and make our state a magnet for jobs and businesses. Now we know that, in addition to its stages and museums, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is also a substantial industry in the state of Minnesota, generating 1.2 billion in total economic impact annually.


A new study released last month, Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector found that 1,269 nonprofit arts and culture organizations support the equivalent of 33,381 full time jobs, and that nearly 19 million people attend nonprofit arts and culture events annually. The report also found that 2.63 million students 18 and under are served by the cultural sector. Creative Minnesota is a snapshot of the health and impacts of nonprofit arts and culture organizations in 2013.


As the most comprehensive report ever done of the creative sector, Creative Minnesota is a new effort to fill the gaps in Minnesota's understanding of its cultural field. It kicks off a new centralized, concentrated effort to collect and report data on the creative sector every two years for analysis, education, and advocacy. All of the research developed by Creative Minnesota is available at


Thank you to everyone who attended Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on February 19th! 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 about the impact of State arts funding. 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.


Jeff Prauer
Executive Director
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. 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 13, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.

Arts Activities Support, Round 2 - Application Workshops

The deadline for Arts Activities Support, Round 2 grant applications is Monday, April 6, 2015 with an earliest project start date of June 16, 2015. 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.


Monday, March 9, 2015, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

Friday, March 13, 2015, 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.  


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Community Arts, Round 2 Grant Panels

The FY 2015 Community Arts, Round 2 grant applications will be reviewed the week of March 16, 2015. The panel review meetings will begin each day at 9:00 a.m. with a short panel re-orientation. Click on the linked panel review date to see the order of reviews for that day.

Monday, March 16, 2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015

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 or participate in the panel's discussion.

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Creative Minnesota: The Health and Impact of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector

As the first of an ongoing series of biennial reports, Creative Minnesota: The Health and Impact of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector ( is a snapshot of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences as well as other indicators of the sector's health and impact on the economy in 2013. The study quantifies the economic impact from 1,269 arts and culture organizations in every corner of the state, in addition to information about jobs created, local vs. non-local attendees spending, nonprofit arts and culture organizational budgets, and artist employment levels.


Creative Minnesota was developed by a collaborative of arts and culture funders in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA). The report leverages new opportunities for in depth research provided by Minnesota's participation in the Cultural Data Project (CDP) ( Many public and private grant makers in Minnesota require some or all of their arts and culture grantees to submit data to the CDP. Americans for the Arts (AFTA) was commissioned to calculate the economic impact of the arts.

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MRAC Arts Management Training

Navigating Partnerships and Collaborations: A Panel Discussion & Workshop

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Facilitated by Rob Routhieaux, Hamline University

Hamline Midway Library Community Meeting Room, 1558 W Minnehaha Avenue, St Paul, MN 55104  


Well-managed partnerships and collaborations provide mutual benefits to participating organizations. Poorly managed partnerships and collaborations drain energy and resources from both. What should you think about when choosing partner organizations? And how can you plan for partnership success?



Damon Runnals - The Southern Theater/ARTSHARE

Al Justiniano - Teatro del Pueblo/Pangea World Theater 

Lorrie Link - Maple Grove Arts Center/Opus Corporation

Gwen Lerner - Women's Writing Program/Ramsey County Correctional Facility/ The Saint Paul Public Library/ Advisory Task Force on Female Offenders


We've invited these panelists to share their experiences working with partner organizations. Attendees will learn about the mutual benefits that collaborations can bring-from the sharing of ideas and resources to long-term integration and coordination of programming--as well as what pitfalls to avoid. After hearing these real-life examples, Rob Routhieaux will delve deeper into thinking about how a partnership or collaboration can help your organization. You will learn best practices for developing and managing partnerships and leave with ideas and tools to ensure your partnerships and collaborations are mutually beneficial.   


Rob Routhieaux is an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business at Hamline University. He currently serves as Director of Nonprofit Programs at Hamline - and teaches in both the Master of Nonprofit Management and Minor in Nonprofit Management programs. He has over fifteen years of experience working with nonprofit arts organizations, serving on Boards and conducting workshops. He has worked with many arts organizations in strategic planning, budgeting, governance, and organizational development.


Save the Date!

April 16, 2015 - Creating an Effective Board of Directors


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.


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Balancing Act - Maintaining Institutional Legacy & Contemporary Relevance

Thursday, March 26th, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

Facilitated by John McVea and Laura Dunham, University of St Thomas 

MRAC Office 2324 University Avenue W, St Paul, MN 55114  Suite 114    


In a quickly moving world, how do art organizations balance relevance to contemporary audiences, while maintaining their institutional legacy? How does this tension play out at large organizations versus smaller organizations? Based on a case study about the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, participants will be asked to explore how institutions can radically re-imagine their roles in the community, with its customer base, and the experience they seek to create. Participants will be asked to read a case study and participate in group discussion and problem solving.


Laura Dunham is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business St. Thomas and chair of the Entrepreneurship Department. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation. Dr. Dunham earned her Ph.D. and MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the managerial challenges involved in innovation and new business start-up and development. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Dunham worked as a management consultant in the strategy division of Renaissance Worldwide, helping clients such as Oracle, IBM, Lucent, and GTE to identify, evaluate, and develop new growth initiatives.


John McVea is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Program Director of the Executive MBA program at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. His academic specialties are entrepreneurial strategy and social entrepreneurship, managerial decision-making, and business ethics. Originally from the North of Ireland, he has worked extensively in countries in Europe and in the Americas. He has undergraduate degrees in Engineering (BSc.) and in Economics (BCom.) from the University of Birmingham in England. After college, he spent ten years in the international chemical business (including Dupont and ICI Europe) in roles ranging from factory manager to new market development. In 1986, John earned an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and was awarded the Shermet Scholarship for academic excellence. Subsequent to this, John spent several years as a strategy consultant working for Bain & Co. in Boston. In 1998 he returned to the Darden School to complete a PhD in management, specializing in the areas of entrepreneurship and ethics. He has taught business ethics and developed a new entrepreneurship course at the University of Virginia. He has written more than a dozen business case studies focusing on issues such as market entry strategy, innovation field studies, cash flow forecasting, challenges of growth, and the use of social media.

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.

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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 offered for projects with significant or long-term potential to involve more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.  


Soo Visual Arts Center, Interact Center for Visual & Performing Arts, and The Show, are the most recent recipients of an ADA Access Improvement Grant. With the addition of these three grants, VSA Minnesota has now awarded over 1 million in ADA Access Improvement Grants to 49 seven-county Twin Cities arts organizations. 


The next application deadline is May 1, 2015.  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

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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FY 2014 Annual Report

All of our grant awards from FY 2014 are available in a downloadable document--the MRAC 2014 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 Body Cartography, Drama Interaction, FTF Works/Herocycle - photo by Mike Neuharth, Iny Asian Dance Theater - Photo by Cam Xiong, Marcy Puppet Dragons Residency,  Magic Lantern Puppet Theater, Open Eye Figure Theatre - photo by Mark Vancleave, Poetry Picnic - photo by Bruce Silcox, Theatre Pro Rata - photo by Charles Gorrill, Wayzata Symphony Orchestra - photo by Dawn Anderson, and Yellow Tree Theatre for supplying the photos we used in this year's report.


Please note: with 490 grants awarded last year, the annual report is a fairly large file and may take a moment to download. It also may not display correctly in Firefox. Please contact Katie Kaufmann at if you would like an emailed pdf. 


If you wish to submit photos from your MRAC-funded events for use in MRAC and RAC Forum materials, please visit

MRAC Lends Legacy Amendment Signs! 

Help us communicate the impact and value of Legacy Amendment funds! MRAC is lending graphic banner signs (33.5"w x 83"h) with the Legacy Amendment logo and MRAC acknowledgement language for display at projects/events funded by the arts and cultural heritage fund. Please contact Katie Kaufmann at or by phone 651-523-6384 to reserve a sign. The number of signs available is limited, so please reserve them early and return the signs promptly after using.
Arts & Culture Funders Database

You have asked, "Where besides MRAC can we go for funding?" Now we have an answer. MRAC has partnered with Access Philanthropy to provide, for free, a database of approximately 400 funders that have a history of making grants in the Twin Cities metro area for arts, culture, history, and humanities. Visit to access the database.

Access Philanthropy is also providing a quarterly newsletter with updates and deadlines. Click the link to view the most recent Arts & Culture Funders Database updates/deadlines newsletter. Sign up to receive them by email at


Your feedback is important! Please let us know if you receive a grant as a result of this tool or if you think of ways to improve it.     


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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 Arts Access grant program is designed to help arts organizations broaden arts opportunities for underserved groups. Grants can be used to identify underserved groups or communities, identify the barriers that keep them from engaging in the arts, and develop and implement strategies to reduce or eliminate the barriers. More information is available at Deadline: April 24, 2015.

Franconia Sculpture Park is now accepting applications for their 2015 Fellowship Program, Intern Artist Program, Hot Metal Residency, and Arts Administration Internship. Franconia's fellowship, internship, and residency programs offer opportunities for artists to live, create, and exhibit three-dimensional artwork in the sculpture park. While in residence, artists live in a communal setting in a ten-bedroom farmhouse, receive studio space in the 7,000 sq. ft. outdoor work area, and have access to tools and equipment necessary to produce large-scale artwork. More information is available at

The Minnesota Theater Alliance has launched Arts Market, a free online materials exchange for the arts, where you can offer and find reusable set pieces, hardware, art materials, gear, costumes, props, office equipment/materials, etc. available for free, sale, rent, or barter. You can share resources, reduce costs, make a little revenue, and reduce waste. It's like Craigslist for the arts. More information is available at

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. Visit the Management Training Fund program page for more information. 

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FY 2015 Grant Application Deadlines

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


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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Collecting Photos

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 Kelly Affeldt by email at

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MRAC FY 2014 Summary 

In FY 2014, MRAC received 814 applications and awarded 452 grants totaling
3,175,634 to arts organizations and/or projects including a 220,000 grant to VSA Minnesota for its re-granting 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 340 applications from individual artists in the Next Step Fund program and awarded 38 grants totaling 182,586 with funds from The McKnight Foundation. MRAC also provided 23 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.