topMRAC e-newsletter
May 2015 
In This Issue
FY 2016 Deadlines
Arts Activities Support Workshops
Arts Learning Panel Review
Next Step Panel Review
Arts Activities Support Review
MRAC Holiday Hours
MRAC Training
Creative Minnesota
FY 2014 Annual Report
Legacy Signs
Arts & Culture Funders Database
Resource Updates
Photos Needed!
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FY 2014 Summary
Quick Links

Last fall, we announced the launch of the Arts & Culture Funders Database operated by Access Philanthropy and accessible via the Resources tab on MRAC's website. This is a free searchable resource of approximately 400 private- and public-sector grant makers who have funded or are open to funding arts organizations in the metro area in the past. I hope that the database has been helpful for you if you have used it. If you did not know about it before, I hope that you will check it out and that it will be useful.


We received 29 nominations for the annual MRAC Arts Achievement Awards. The MRAC Board will review these nominations in June and will select two recipient organizations to each receive a $5,000 cash award at the Board's July meeting. We will announce the recipients in our July newsletter, so stay tuned!


Finally, MRAC's FY 2016 deadlines are set. You can find them in this newsletter and on our website. Guidelines for all programs will be available on the website, and on paper in the MRAC office, beginning Monday, June 1.


Jeff Prauer
Executive Director
FY 2016 Grant Application Deadlines

Below are the FY 2015-2016 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.  


7/13/2015         ArtsActivities Support, Round 1

8/31/2015         Capital

8/31/2015         Organizational Development

10/5/2015         Community Arts, Round 1

11/9/2015         Arts Learning, Round 1

1/11/2016         Community Arts, Round 2

3/7/2016           Arts Learning, Round 2

3/7/2016           Next Step Fund, (11:59 p.m.)

4/11/2016         Arts Activities Support, Round 2

4/11/2016         Arts Achievement Award


Weekly           Management Training Fund

Weekly           Emergency Accessibility

Monthly         Management Consulting Fund 


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FY 2016 Arts Activities Support, Grant Workshops

The FY 2016 Arts Activities Support, Round 1 grant application deadline is Monday, July 13, 2015 with an earliest project start date of September 23, 2015. Grant guidelines will be available on the Arts Activities Support grant program page starting Friday, May 8, 2015.

MRAC offers workshops designed to help groups prepare MRAC Arts Activities Support grant applications. Participants become familiar with the program, online application process, and learn how to write effective MRAC grant proposals. This is a great opportunity to get questions answered on your project ideas.

The Arts Activities Support workshops will be held:
The workshops are free, but we ask that you register in advance. To register, click on the linked workshop date. The workshops 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. 


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Arts Learning, Round 2 Grant Panels  


The FY 2015 Arts Learning, Round 2 grant applications will be reviewed May 19- 21st, 2015. The panel review meetings will begin at 9:00 am with a short panel re-orientation. Click on the linked panel date to see the order of reviews for that panel day.


May 19, 2015 

May 20, 2015 

May 21, 2015 


Panel meetings are open to the public, 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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Next Step Fund Grant Panel    


The FY 2015 Next Step Fund grant applications will be reviewed Wednesday, June 16th 2015. The panel review meeting will begin at 9:00 am with a short panel re-orientation. The panel review schedule will be available in the June e-newsletter and on our website in June.  


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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Arts Activities Support, Round 2 Grant Panels

The FY 2015 Arts Activities, Round 2 grant applications will be reviewed June, 8-12th, 2015. Panel review schedules will be available in our June e-newsletter and on our website in June.


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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MRAC Holiday Hours

MRAC will be closed on Monday, May 25th, 2015 for Memorial Day.

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MRAC Management Training

Creating a Volunteer Social Media Team 

Facilitated by Steve Boland 
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Avenue W, St Paul, MN 55114 


Social media management can be a full-time job, but rarely can small arts groups afford that kind of staff time to really use the tools to engage donors, recruit program volunteers, or advertise a performance in channels where people spend their time. Creating a social media team which mixes staff, board and other volunteers can really extend a nonprofit's reach. The challenge then becomes managing all that effort in real time for measurable goals (often referred to as conversions in measurement tools like Google Analytics).


This session will dive deep into Hootsuite as one tool to manage scheduled posts, author roles, and monitoring channels for engagement. Ensuring consistent voice across authors and scheduling some posts for review will be discussed, as well as a brief overview of other platforms such as Tweetdeck and Buffer.  


Steve Boland is a nonprofit leader with expertise in building strong communities, creating effective financial and evaluation strategies, and using technology to further nonprofit fundraising and operational goals. Steve has over 20 years of nonprofit and public sector experience, including executive director positions at Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, Summit-University Planning Council, and Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation. He holds a Master of Nonprofit Management from Hamline University and serves on the Board of Directors for Outfront Minnesota. You can often find his leading-edge industry opinions in publications of Nonprofit Quarterly, Community Tech Knowledge, and the Minnesota Council on Foundations.


LOCALS Session 
Balancing Act - Maintaining Institutional Legacy & Contemporary Relevance

Working lunch included
Presented by John McVea and Laura Dunham of the University of St. Thomas
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Avenue W, St Paul, MN 55114

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 in large organizations versus smaller organizations? Based on a case study of 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 in preparation for the session 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.

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.

Work with a Consultant: Addressing your Management Needs

Wednesday June 3rd, 2015 10:00 am to 12:00 pm 

Presented by Bethany Gladhill and Shannon Forney 

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 2324 University Avenue W, St Paul, MN 55114 


Does your arts organization have a management need for creating a fundraising plan, conducting an audience study, or restructuring account codes for more accurate reporting? Did you know that Management Consulting Fund projects can be effective pre-planning grants for a larger organizational development project? Did you know that groups located in the greater metro are eligible for two Management Consulting Fund grants in a year?


This session will walk through how to articulate a bite-size management project that is relevant and competitive for the Management Consulting Fund grant program. Hear from veteran arts consultant Bethany Gladhill about best practices and pitfalls in working with a consultant. You will learn why it is so critical to articulate and agree on project goals and expectations and get the inside scoop on this small but mighty grant program.


Bethany Gladhill is an experienced consultant in nonprofit and arts management in the areas of strategic planning, evaluation, operational management, marketing, and fundraising. Following positions as Director of Operations at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Finance Director at the Jungle Theater, and Managing Director of Nautilus Music-Theater, she began working exclusively as a consultant in 2010. Bethany holds a BA from Tufts University and a Masters of Historic Preservation from Goucher College, Baltimore.


Shannon Forney is the MRAC Program Director for the Management Consulting Fund, Management Training Fund, Organizational Development, Capital and Emergency Accessibility grant programs. She holds a Masters of Administration in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University's School of Business in St. Paul, Minnesota and a BA in Theater from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.


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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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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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


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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 Raeisha Williams 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.

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Arts & Culture Funders Database  

ou 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

The following non-MRAC opportunities are listed at MRAC's discretion. The listing does not indicate an endorsement.   

Knight Arts Challenge  

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge. This is a community-wide contest funding projects that engage and enrich the community through the arts. More information is available at Deadline: May 18th, 2015.


Arts Market

The Minnesota Theater Alliance has launched an Arts Market; it is a free online materials exchange. There, you can offer and/or find reusable set pieces, hardware, art materials, gear, costumes, props, office equipment/materials, much more. You can share resources, reduce costs, make a little revenue, and reduce waste. It is The 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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We Want Your 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 Raeisha Williams 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.