March 31, 2023

St. Paul, Minn. (June 27, 2018) — The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council board on Thursday awarded $771,040 to 80 organizations/projects in the second round of its fiscal year 2018 Arts Activities Support grant program.

The Arts Activities Support projects chosen will provide high-quality arts events and programs for Minnesotans of all ages to experience and enjoy arts in a variety of disciplines. From theater productions to camps to classes and more, the Arts Activities Support grants provide quality engagement with the arts at a variety of entry points.

The Arts Activities Support grant program is made possible with funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment. Geographic listings represent the county where the arts programming will take place; note that Minneapolis and St. Paul are listed separately from the Suburban Hennepin and Suburban Ramsey counties.

Dakota County

Children’s Castle Theater
Funding for Disney’s Newsies, the organization’s 48th production. 8+ performances will be held at the Lakeville Area Arts Center during March 2019.

Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community
Funding for the 19th Annual Traditional Wacipi, a three-day Native American artistic and cultural celebration and social gathering. Activities will take place on the St. Peters Church grounds in Mendota in September 2018.

Minnesota Productions, Inc., DBA Theater NOW
Funding for “Storytelling with Puppets,” free weekly classes for seniors culminating in a final performance. Activities will take place at The Wilder Foundation Community Center for Aging in St. Paul from November – December 2018.


Alive & Kickin
Funding for 15 on-site musical performances at several venues in the metro area and a two-hour performance at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, all featuring performers between 60 and 90+ years of age. Activities will take place between July 2018 and June 2019.

Art Buddies
Funding for the fall 2018 Art Buddies after-school art mentor program at Bancroft Elementary School in Minneapolis, where 30 students ages 8 to 11 will be paired with 30 creative adults during 8-10 weekly artist-led sessions.

Art Shanty Projects
Funding to curate and present the 2019 Art Shanty Projects On Ice Program, a free four-week interactive exhibit of performance and visual art on frozen Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. The exhibit will be on display in January and February 2019.

Funding for the Avivo Art Garden, a year-long project that will engage people living with mental illness in four group art activities to strengthen social connection and promote recovery. Participants will create a mosaic bird bath, two art benches, five floral garden images on wood, recovery-focused signs, and a 4 foot by 8 foot mural on wood near the intersection of Franklin and Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis.

Black Storytellers Alliance
Funding for 27th Annual Black Master Storytellers Festival, Signifyin’ & Testifyin’, a three-day, family-friendly, free event that invites all persons and families to become actively engaged in the art of oral storytelling as audience participants. The festival will take place at metro area locations in September 2018.

Black Table Arts
Funding for six Free Black Table open mic events, merging the artistic practices of presentation; community gathering and sharing; and entrepreneurship. The events will be held at Illusion Theater between July 2018 and May 2019.

Bollywood Dance Scene
Funding to present MinneUtsav: a Bollywood Performing Arts Festival for all ages, featuring a Bollywood dance “dramedy” of original storytelling and choreography, Bollywood improv shows, dance and acting workshops, live Indian-fusion music, and several spotlight performances by partner arts organizations and artists. The festival will take place in August 2018.

Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis
Funding for a series of eight free concerts across three metro venues featuring a variety of classical music. Performances will underscore the talent sitting in our Minnesota community, building on Civic’s reputation for promoting local artists well-deserving of attention and multiple performances.

Funding to create and present It’s all real, It’s all fake, It’s all DaNCEBUMS, an evening-length immersive performance combining dance, live music, scenic design, and social gathering. Performances

Exposed Brick Theatre
Funding to produce the play Freedom Daze at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis during November and December 2018.

Four Humors Theate
Funding for the original theatrical production “The Last Days of Commodus.” Performances will take place at the Strike Theater in Minneapolis during April 2019.

Friends of the Mill Distric
Funding for a season of choir rehearsals and performances under the direction of J.D. Steele for residents living in downtown Minneapolis’ Mill District, to bring diverse community members together to share the joy of singing. Activities will take place between September 2018 – June 2019.

Gadfly Theatre Productions
Funding for 60 Queer Plays in 90 Queer Minutes, bringing ten artists together to create sixty new, one-minute plays to be performed in ninety minutes. All plays will be comprised of content pressing and urgent to LGBTQ+ people, with final performances taking place in March 2019.

Haunted Basement
Funding for the Haunted Basement, an annual immersive haunted theater experience. The production will take place at the Hennepin Art Block in Minneapolis in September and October 2018.

Indian Music Society of Minnesota (IMSOM)
Funding to support the 2018 Fall Concert Series, including four chamber concerts featuring internationally renowned artists from India, and one community festival of Indian classical music. The concerts and community festival will take place at metro venues in September and October 2018.

Jawaahir Dance Company
Funding to present Our Mother, an Arab music and dance performance based on the work of iconic Arab Singer, Oum Kalsoum. Performances will take place at Jawaahir’s Studio Theater in December 2018.

Jones-Harrison Residence
Funding for a partnership with COMPAS’ Artful Aging program to introduce residents to Carnatic music, a 2000-year-old musical form from South India. The free activities include an opening performance, 5 weekly learning workshops, and a final presentation event and will take place at Jones-Harrison Residence in Minneapolis during February – March 2019.

Katha Dance Theatre
Funding to remount the 1994 dance-drama “The Hungry Stones” with new choreography and set design. Performances will be held at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis during November 2018.

Kenwood Symphony Orchestra
Funding for four live symphony orchestra programs, including a soloist competition, designed to bring concerts of classical music to a diverse audience. Performances will take place at metro area venues and assisted living facilities between October 2018 and May 2019.

Kulture Klub Collaborative
Funding to host a 16-week visual and performing art series for youth experiencing and transitioning out of homelessness. Workshops will take place at four different transitional housing sites during the fall and winter of 2018.

Les Jolies Petites School of Dance
Funding for the 2018 Winter Showcase, a performance of completed work developed between October and December 2018 by Les Jolies students. A final public performance will be held at Fridley Community Theater in December 2018.

Metropolitan Symphony Orchestral Association
Funding for the 2018-2019 season, featuring five orchestral music concerts, one of which is performed twice. Performances will take place in a variety of neighborhood venues across the Twin Cities between October 2018 and May 2019.

Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute
Funding for Writers’ Table at After-School Homework Help during the 2018–2019 academic year. Activities will run from September 2018 – May 2019 at Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute in Minneapolis.

MN Interfaith Power and Light
Funding for the All in the Circle Arts and Nature Camps, featuring a pair of two-week camps exploring themes of arts and nature, to be held in summer of 2019.

Morgan Thorson & Company

Funding for Public Love, a dance project redefining power through physical tenderness and the human need for touch as queer alternatives to might and control. Rehearsals, a technical residency, and informal community gatherings will all culminate in performances at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater in December 2018.

Motionpoems, Inc.
Funding to support the commission and creation of 12 poetry films, and their dissemination through a film festival and on the web. The films will premiere in spring 2019.

New Arab American Theater Works

Funding to develop and present the staged reading of a new work based on the stories of 100 years of Syrian and Lebanese immigration to the United States. The project will be built upon interviews and workshops with local community members with a final presentation in May 2019.

North Suburban Chorus
Funding for 32 performances from August – December 2018 at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior clubs, and senior housing locales in the metro area.

Off-Leash Area
Funding for BARK ART! A Dog & Art Festival, to take place at the Off-Leash Art Box in August 2018.

Red Bird Theatre
Funding to present A Bright Room Called Day, by Tony Kushner. Performances will take place at Pillsbury House Theatre in March 2019.

Right Here Commissions
Funding to support the presentation of The 5th Annual Right Here Showcase, a juried mini-festival of mid-career Minnesota-based performing artists who create original contemporary performance work. Performances will take place at The Art Box in Minneapolis in May 2019.

Riverside Plaza Tenants Association
Funding for Somali poetry translations and poetry workshops that will culminate in a December 2018 reading at Mixed Blood Theatre.

Rosy Simas Danse
Funding for “no known word”, a performative sharing of the act of creation. Made in collaborative and solo practice, a weaving of movement, paper and fabric sculptures, film, sound, and text will evolve over a month-long residency at All My Relations Arts in the heart of Minneapolis’ Native community in June 2019.

Sandbox Theatre
Funding for WordsDoMove, an original play inspired by the empathic power of language, how words have the ability to motivate us, to connect us, and to drive us apart. Performances will take place at The Crane Theater in November 2018.

Skewed Visions
Funding for Moving Time, a new, interdisciplinary solo performance work created anew in front of each audience using disruptive practices and dystopian images to examine how representation — a fundamental principle of communication and political efficacy — is possible in contemporary culture. Performances will take place in May 2019.

Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum
Funding to present the Mobile Culture Show, a hands-on program of Somali traditional art, targeting Somali youth and segments of the Somali community that lack access to studying traditional Somali arts and culture. The exhibit will be shown at 10 metro area locations through December 2018.

SPARK theater + dance
Funding to present the children’s show The Supercilious Ways of Walter Wading. Performances will take place in four metro area locations from January through September 2019.

Theatre Novi Most
Funding to create and produce a new play in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and playwright Savannah Reich about the history of denim jeans and American ideas about democracy. Performances will take place in December 2018.

Tlalnepantla Arts
Funding for CalaFest18, a 4-week multimedia and interdisciplinary Latinx arts festival celebrating the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead. The festival will feature approximately 150 Latinx artists that explore media art, dance, music, spoken word, theater, painting, installation art, traditional folks arts, and other artistic expressions related to Day of the Dead. The festival will take place at metro area venues between September and November 2018.

Weavers Guild of Minnesota
Funding for a year-long arts program including 16 classes in historical spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques plus ten free public outreach events, a film screening, and other activities to take place between September 2018 and August 2019.

Young Dance, Inc.
Funding for Intersect, a season of workshops and performances for young dancers, exploring the crossroads of dance with other art forms. Activities will take place between September 2018 and May 2019.

Z Puppets Rosenschnoz
Funding to develop and premiere Tabletop Exodus, a new participatory puppetry performance with live music by Greg Herriges. Performances will take place at the Z Puppets studio in South Minneapolis in February 2019

Saint Paul
Advocating Change Together
Funding for a monthly singing group open to all people with developmental disabilities, their allies, and the general public. Activities will include nine monthly rehearsals and three public performances.

BareBones Productions
Funding to stage the 25th Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza, a free outdoor pageant and performance featuring giant puppets, live music, and communal singing, followed by a reception of free food, live music, and opportunity for remembrance and contemplation. The event will take place at Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul in October 2018.

Border CrosSing
Funding for Puentes, a series of concerts held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The project integrates Latinx audiences, culture, and artists with the Minnesota choral scene to be accessible and relevant to Latinx audiences, allowing for a fundamental change in the traditional choral landscape. Performances will take place between September 2018 and May 2019.

Center for Irish Music
Funding for the 11th annual Minnesota Irish Music Weekend, an immersive music education festival of music instruction and public performances. Activities will occur at Celtic Junction in Saint Paul during June 2019.

Dangerous Productions
Funding to produce THE CANDIDATE, a satirical slapstick comedy about the importance of voting rights for all. Performances will be paired with “get out the vote” activities and other opportunities for civic engagement at Can Can Wonderland in St. Paul during October 2018.

Flying Forms
Funding for the 2018-19 concert series of baroque chamber music. Concerts will be at the Baroque Room in St. Paul in November & December 2018 and January & March 2019.

Gender Reel
Funding for Gender Reel’s 2018 Film Festival, the Twin Cities only film festival dedicated to enhance the visibility of trans and gender diverse people. Gender Reel will take place in October 2018 at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul and the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis.

Girl Friday Productions
Funding for the production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder. Performances will run on the proscenium stage at Park Square Theatre in February and March 2019.

Highland Friendship Club
Funding for two sections of Cow Tipping Press writing workshops. The first will occur in October – November 2018; the second during January – February 2019. 

In Progress
Funding for the North End Arts Initiative, offering digital art making activities for youth and their families living in the north end neighborhood of Saint Paul. Activities include music creation, family portraiture sessions, digital photography in parks and more, and will be presented from August 2018 – April 2019 in St. Paul.

Japan America Society of Minnesota
Funding for a Japanese cultural entertainment program, featuring local musicians, singers, and dancers performing a program of Japanese music, drums, and cultural entertainment at the Como Park Obon Festival in August 2018.

Jazz at Studio Z
Funding for Jazz at Studio Z, a series of jazz workshops, podcasts, and professional concerts featuring local musicians. Events will take place monthly at Studio Z in downtown St. Paul between September 2018 and May 2019.

Jenson Dance
Funding for “Sketch Mythology 2,” blending dance theatre with short poses for the audience to sketch. Created by Matt Jenson in collaboration with over twenty artists – choreographers, composers, visual artists, writers, directors, and designers – there will be six performances at Dreamland Arts in St. Paul during Spring 2019.

Latvian Organization Association of Minnesota

Funding to produce a full-length concert featuring songs and dances of the Latvian culture, as well as a fine arts exhibition. The events will be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul in November 2018.

McDonough Recreation Center

Funding for the McDonough Performance Art Project consisting of multiple dance and spoken word workshops for middle-school and high-school aged participants. Activities will occur from July 2018 – early 2019 at the McDonough Rec Center in Saint Paul.

Minhua Chorus
Funding to produce a full-length concert featuring songs and dances that demonstrate the unique characteristics of the culture of southern China. The concert will be held at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul in November 2018.

Minnesota Chinese Music Ensemble

Funding for a concert, performances, a music seminar, a master class, and private lessons of traditional and contemporary Chinese music. Activities will occur in September 2018 at Kang Le Adult Daycare in St. Paul, Legacy Adult Daycare in Golden Valley, and Sundin Hall in St. Paul.

Funding for the winter 2018 publication of Mizna, a special issue marking 70 years of occupation of Palestine. The only journal of Arab American literature in the country, the issue features both emerging and established authors in a platform for Arab Americans to narrate their own stories. The issue will be published in November 2018 and a journal release event will be held at the Twin Cities Public Television Street Space in St. Paul in January 2019.

Rain Taxi Inc.
Funding to produce the 18th annual Twin Cities Book Festival, featuring Minnesota authors, publishers, booksellers, and book artists, as well as select writers from across the nation, with an all-day book fair, Children’s Pavilion, Middle Grade Headquarters, Teen Tent, and author readings and book signings. The Fair will be held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in October 2018.

Rondo Family Reunion

Funding for “The Rondo Family Reunion: Pictures and Poems for our People” to capture photographs and stories of the “Rondo Diaspora,” people of African descent who have lived and/or currently live in the Rondo neighborhood. Activities will include a photo and poetry project via an interactive, mapped lawn sign display, banner displays at the Rondo Library, a book, and a final performance at Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul.

Skylark Opera
Funding for six performances, in English, of an immersive, updated production of Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte, exploring modern gender power relationships through the lens of an 18th century masterpiece. Activities will occur in October 2018 at the Mounds Theatre in St. Paul.

St. Paul Art Collective
Funding for the Spring Saint Paul Art Crawl in April 2019.

Teatro del Pueblo
Funding for the bilingual (Spanish/English) presentation of The Blackout (“El Apagon”), part of the company’s 17th annual Political Theater Series. Activities include workshops and performances to be held in spring 2019.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library
Funding for the 25th anniversary season of the Fireside Reading Series, a six-week program featuring Minnesota writers who have published new work in the past year. Activities will occur at Saint Paul’s Hamline-Midway Public Library in January and February 2019.

Theatre Pro Rata
Funding to produce Isaac’s Eye, by Lucas Hnath, a play that blends the facts of Isaac Newton’s life with an equal dose fiction to explore what great people are willing to sacrifice to become great people. Performances will take place at The Gremlin Theater in January and February 2019.

Wonderlust Productions
Funding to support community engagement, story-gathering, and script development for a new play about – and developed in collaboration with – people in and affected by Minnesota’s incarceration system. Public readings will occur in July 2019.

Funding for an evening-length performance by dancer/choreographer Alarmél Valli with live musical accompaniment at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul during November 2018.

Funding for the 2018-2019 Eric Stokes Song Contest program, including the Eric Stokes Song Contest and Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concerts. Activities include conducting the contest, rehearsing the winning works, and presenting concerts in St. Paul. Two concerts will be held at Studio Z and one concert at Ras Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge during February 2019.

Suburban Hennepin County

Hammer Residences
Funding to partner with Cow Tipping Press to provide three free six-week literary arts sessions for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The writing sessions will be held at the Minnetonka Community Ed building in October/November 2018, February/March 2019, and June/July 2019 along with Writer’s Reception and Book Release events at the Wild Rumpus Bookstore in St. Paul and The Depot Coffee House in Hopkins.

Wayzata Symphony Orchestra
Funding to present four musical programs in the 2018-2019 season. Concerts will take place in Wayzata and Minneapolis in October and November 2018 and February, March, and April 2019.

Suburban Ramsey County

Merrick, Inc.
Funding for “The Art of Me,” a 12-week program for 15 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities to work with Upstream Arts artists in each one-hour session. Activities will take place at Merrick’s Vadnais Heights location between September 2018 and May 2019, culminating in a final performance. 

Washington County

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop
Funding to expand MPWW’s one-to-one mail Mentor Program to 50 additional students incarcerated in one of the four Metropolitan-area state correctional facilities. The Mentor Program will take place from January – April 2019 in Stillwater, Lino Lakes, Oak Park Heights, and Shakopee prisons and will culminate in a public reading at Hamline University in May 2019.

Sample Night Live!
Funding to produce the September Sample Night Live highlighting artists and arts organizations across the Metro, as well as featuring East Metro-based groups. The September show will be presented at Merrill Arts Center in Woodbury during September 2018. 

Sod House Theater
Funding to present four performances of AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at Vermillion Falls Park in Hastings during September 2018.

Washington County Jail
Funding for the Women’s Creative Writing program for women in the Washington County Jail. Classes will begin in July 2018 in Stillwater.

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 2017, MRAC received 928 applications and awarded 472 grants totaling $3,411,175 to organizations. This total includes two small payments for Arts Achievement Awards, as well as a $195,000 grant to VSA Minnesota for their role in re-granting ADA Access Improvement Fund grants for metro arts organizations, which resulted in 13 grants.

In addition, MRAC received 402 applications from individual artists in the Next Step Fund program and awarded 35 grants totaling $173,214 with a grant from The McKnight Foundation.

MRAC also offered 36 Arts Management Training opportunities, 28 grant workshops, and 2 visual arts exhibitions for the community.

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