December 5, 2022

Bryan Thao Worra

The Minnesota State Arts Board has engaged four individuals who will assist the board in building relationships within communities of color. These individuals are available to provide information and advice to artists and arts organizations, based in communities of color, on how to access Arts Board grant programs and services.

One of the most significant components of the State Arts Board are its grant programs for individuals, schools and organizations each year, including several new programs that have recently been introduced. The board maintains a roster of artists and programs such as Poetry Out Loud, which allows high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. It also helps artists to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Upcoming deadlines include funds for arts festivals, as well as the folk and traditional arts. Later in 2011, artists will be able to apply for artist initiative grants and cultural community partnerships. The community liaisons are working with established and emerging artists to create awareness of these and other resources in Minnesota.

This year’s liaisons are Karen Goulet, J. Rudy Perrault, Victoria ‘Tori’ Salas and Bryan Thao Worra.

Karen Goulet is a member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and is also Métis and Saami/Finn. She lives in northern Minnesota and works as an artist and art faculty on the reservation. She received her MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is also a published poet. People, places, and certain moments in time influence her creative work. She has had the good fortune to work in many places and with a variety of communities, using creativity as a way of connecting and making positive change in the world.

Performer, conductor and composer, Jean “Rudy” Perrault is director of orchestras and associate professor of strings at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, he earned his master’s degree in performance from Temple University.

He is a frequent panelist on national and international instrumental and conducting competitions, and has participated in many prestigious music festivals including the International Music Camp, Aspen, Tanglewood, Chautauqua. Rudy is published by African Music Publishers, a division of Oxford University Press. He is a founding member and president of the Kako Foundation (www.kakofoundation.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing classical music to underprivileged youth in the United States and Haiti. He makes his home in Duluth, Minnesota.

Victoria “Tori” Salas has been a lead performer and head dancer for the traditional Mexcia Dance Circle of Mankato, and has worked to reach new communities through her work in the United States Census in 2000, and again in 2010. She has been the recipient of the Women of Courage and Vision Award, Cultural Diversity Award, and 25 on the Rise Hispanic Leadership awards.

Bryan Thao Worra is a 2009 NEA fellow in literature, Laotian American writer, and creative works editor for the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement. His work is featured in over 100 international publications and his work is taught in schools around the world. He is the author of five collections of poetry.

Currently residing in North Minneapolis, Bryan is a Many Voices fellow of the Playwrights’ Center, and has received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Loft Literary Center and understands the process well from many sides. He received a 2009 Asian Pacific Leadership Award for the Arts from the Minnesota Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

In 1903, the Minnesota State Legislature established the State Arts Society to “advance the interests of the fine arts, to develop the influence of art in education, and to foster the introduction of art in manufactures.”

The name was eventually changed to the Minnesota State Arts Board, and has maintained a vision that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to participate in the arts. The Minnesota State Arts Board values the arts as a vital element in the life of our community.

The arts, in their many forms, provide a vehicle for developing and expressing creativity, a tool for growth, and a means of connecting people across cultural boundaries. You can visit the Minnesota State Arts Board at www.arts.state.mn.us.

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