topMRAC e-newsletter
July 2015 
In This Issue
Arts Activities Support Awards
Next Step Fund Awards
Arts Activities Support Deadline
OD/Cap Application Workshops
Annual Meeting
FY 2016 Deadlines
Resource Updates
FY 2014 Annual Report
Forward to a Friend
FY 2014 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, 99 projects by 57 organizations have been funded totaling $1,144,144. 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 15, 2015, MRAC awarded a total of $713,425 to 74 organizations/projects in the second round of the FY 2015 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 two-day community pow-wow, 22nd Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza, a free outdoor Jazz music concert and art festival, live symphony orchestra, and a family-friendly African Storytelling festival featuring master storytellers from across the country.

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 15, 2015, MRAC awarded a total of $180,450 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.

For more information, visit Recent Grant Awards to view the 2015 Next Step Fund Grant Awards.

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 2016 Arts Activities Support, Round 1 grant application deadline is Monday, July 13, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. with an earliest project start date of September 23, 2015Applications 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. 
Organizational Development and Capital Grant Workshops

The FY 2016 Organizational Development and Capital grant application deadlines are Monday, August 31, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. with an earliest project start date of November 25, 2015Grant 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 27.

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
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Friday, July 31, 2015 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Monday, August 3, 2015 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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 28, 2015, at the White Bear Center for the Arts at 4971 Long Ave, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 starting at 4:30 p.m.

MRAC will honor Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts and Young Dance as this year's Arts Achievement Award recipients. A featured video of the groups will premiere during the meeting and will be housed on the MRAC website shortly after.
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FY 2016 Grant Application Deadlines

Below are the FY 2016 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.  


7/13/2015      Arts Activities 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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Resource Updates (These non-MRAC opportunities are listed at MRAC's discretion. The listing does not indicate an endorsement.)     

The City of St Louis Park, in collaboration with Friends of the Arts and the SLP Community Foundation, is once again opening up the application process for Arts & Culture grantsThe grants are for artists and art organizations, in any discipline, for 2016 projects that will:

  • Support community pride and build bridges between artists and communities in St. Louis Park, 
  • Showcase new and emerging artists, and/or new opportunities for established artists. 
  • Be accessible and appeal to large populations, 
  • Engage people in creative learning experiences through the arts, 
  • Provide opportunities to increase and promote artistic production and cultural experiences. 
Projects/proposals selected for funding will be arts-related and community-based, will provide artistic enrichment and/or will create opportunities for artistic collaboration. The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2015. For more information visit

Minnesota State Arts Board would like you to participate in their evaluation workshops taking place around the state this summer. The half-day workshops are primarily intended for applicants or grantees of Arts Board programs.  Regional arts council applicants or grantees are welcome to participate, and will be registered on a space-available basis.  Sessions in eight cities around Minnesota will each accommodate up to 30 participants. 


Workshop attendees will take part in discussions and activities to demystify evaluation and the roles it can play in developing artistic work or arts experiences.  The workshop will include information relevant to new Arts Board evaluation expectations that will take effect beginning with application deadlines in calendar year 2016 (for fiscal year 2017 grant awards).


To participate in the workshop nearest you, please complete our online registration


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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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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 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. 


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.