July 24, 2015

For Immediate Release
Raeisha Williams  
(651) 523-6384

Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) Awards
Next Step Fund Grants to 37 Individual Artists

On June 15, 2015, MRAC awarded a total of $180,450.00 to 37 individual artists in the FY 2015 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.

Fifty-five 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.

Alex Wolff $5,000.00
Music - General
Funding to purchase a custom made bass trombone.  


Barbara Porwit $3,300.00
Visual Arts - Painting
Funding for training with Joe Paquet at the Art Academy in St. Paul, to improve technical and foundational painting skills.


Brian Tighe $5,000.00
Music - Popular
Funding to update and improve a home studio to enable the artist to mix his songs.


Clare O'Neill $5,000.00
Funding to purchase a large format printer and make studio modifications necessary to produce large scale work.


Emily Jarrett Hughes $5,000.00
Folk - Traditional Dance
Funding to attend a 12-day dance and culture seminar on the Island of Lesvos, Greece.


Emrys Stramer $5,000.00
Design Arts - Fashion
Funding to gain access three specialized workshops, and to purchase the supplies and equipment needed to produce four new textiles.


Eric Avery $5,000.00
Theater - General
Funding to support the research and development of the artist's first major production in New York, NY.


Eric Carroll $5,000.00
Funding to purchase a Canon 5Ds with a 45mm tilt-shift lens.


Glenda Reed $3,850.00
Literature - Nonfiction
Funding to hire editor Esther Porter to do both an overall structural review and a thorough copy edit of a manuscript.


Hannah Flowers $5,000.00
Music - Ethnic/folk-inspired
Funding to study with experts in the field of the Gaelic harp at the Summer School of Early Irish Harp in Kilkenny, Ireland.


Jacqueline Ultan $5,000.00
Music - General
Funding for the cellist's first solo composition and recording project.


James Everest $5,000.00
Opera/Musical Theater
Funding for a private course in Ableton Live and MAX MSP software at Slam Academy, and to purchase a MacBook Pro laptop.


Jane Powers $5,000.00
Visual Arts - sculpture
Funding to purchase a ceramic kiln and materials needed to complete a studio for sculpture and ceramic ware.


Jeanne Calvit $5,000.00
Theater - General
Funding for travel to Thailand to produce and present a work of radically inclusive theater.


Jennifer Ilse $5,000.00
Dance - General
Funding to attend a three-week artist residency at Earthdance in Massachusettes.


Jim Sannerud $5,000.00
Crafts - Wood
Funding to purchase a planer, bandsaw, and sharpening system for use in making large-scale works.


Katherine Turczan $5,000.00
Funding to produce an artist edition book for the author's first published work.


Kathryne Fisher $5,000.00
Crafts - Clay
Funding to purchase and install an electric kiln for a newly-equipped home studio.


Kelley Meister $5,000.00
Media Arts - Technology/Experimental
Funding to attend a course on MAX/MSP/Jitter interactive software in order to finish a large-scale multimedia work.


Lia Rivamonte $5,000.00
Literature - Fiction
Funding to support research travel to the Philippines and editorial assistance for the revision of the author's first novel.


Marcus Young $5,000.00
Funding for the design and build of a new website.


Margaret Pezalla-Granlund $5,000.00
Visual Arts - General
Funding for an installation to exhibited at the 2015 Minnesota Biennial at the Soap Factory.


Maud Hixson $5,000.00
Music - Jazz
Funding to digitize the singer's music library and to purchase four iPads and accessories for use during performances.


May Lee-Yang $5,000.00
Theater - General
Funding for the creation of a business plan and marketing materials.


Michael  Fell $5,000.00
Theater - General
Funding to receive training in The Actor's Theatre of Louisville's Apprentice Company.


Molly Van Avery $5,000.00
Literature - Poetry
Funding for the creation of a backyard Poetry Shop.


Naomi Cohn $5,000.00
Literature - General
Funding for coaching and other resources needed to branch out into short nonfiction prose.


PaNa Lor $5,000.00
Media Arts - Technology/Experimental
Funding to bring together a collaborative cohort of Hmong artists for the creation of a new animation.


Ricardo Levins Morales $5,000.00
Visual Arts - General
Funding to design and produce a 2017 wall calendar featuring the artist's work.


Richard Nelson $5,000.00
Visual Arts - Graphics
Funding to purchase a new Takach Table Top Etching press.


Sarah Knott $3,300.00
Opera/Musical Theater
Funding to study bel canto opera and Italian language in Italy.


Simone Speers $5,000.00
Music - New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding to purchase DJ equipment for performances and events.


Susana di Palma $5,000.00
Dance - Ethnic/Jazz/Folk-inspired
Funding to study flamenco singing (cante) at the Andres Marin Studio in Seville, Spain.


Tamara Ober $5,000.00
Funding to create the artists first group choreography.


Ted Moore $5,000.00
Music - New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding to support the release of the composer's first professionally produced album.


Tobias Ramaswamy $5,000.00
Music - New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding to construct and then compose music for an electro-acoustic drum set.


Zacc Harris $5,000.00
Music - Jazz
Funding for the artist's first international tour to perform at jazz venues in England, Scotland, and Wales.


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 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.   

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