About MRAC

Rita Mustaphi in a Kathak dance pose--flowing white dress with colored border after a spin- Photo Provided By Katha Dance Theatre


The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council increases access to the arts in 7-county metropolitan area communities by providing information, organizational support and grants.


We believe that the arts strengthen communities, and stimulate diversity of expression, communication, and commemoration of communities and cultures, and that all people should have opportunities to engage in the arts. Accordingly, MRAC’s vision for the region is that:

  • Artists, arts organizations, and arts activities thrive.
  • Art is integrated into the social fabric and identity of every community.
  • Public value of the arts is understood and acted upon by community members, leaders and policy makers.

Vision statement depicted in circles


  • MRAC will provide grant applicants and other constituents with clear, thorough, prompt and respectful service and assistance.
  • MRAC will maintain transparent decision-making processes, and accessible public information.
  • MRAC’s programs and services will reflect its Mission, and achieve its Vision.


The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council serves nonprofit arts organizations, informal arts groups, community education, and non-arts nonprofit organizations with annual operating expenses under $400,000, and individual artists in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. This region includes urban, suburban, and rural communities. While the region comprises only 4% of the state’s geography, its population is approximately 50% of the state’s total. 

As one of the 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota, MRAC’s funding is derived primarily from appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund and Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. MRAC also receives a generous grant from The McKnight Foundation. 

Please see the Grants-at-a-Glance page for an overview of MRAC grant programs and deadline dates.


In FY 2016, MRAC awarded 467 grants totaling $3,146,433 to organizations, which includes two grants for an Arts Achievement Award. The final grant total also includes a $195,000 grant to VSA Minnesota for their role in re-granting ADA Access Improvement Grants for Twin Cities metro arts organizations, which resulted in 16 grants. 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. 
In addition MRAC awarded 37 grants to individual artists for the Next Step Fund totaling $174,666 with a grant from The McKnight Foundation.  MRAC also provided 11 arts management training sessions, 30 grant application workshops and 33 panelist orientation workshops.


In 1977, the Minnesota legislature established a system of eleven regional arts councils to distribute state government appropriations to small arts organizations around the state. The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), which serves the 7-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, is the largest of the regional arts councils. Each regional arts council is an autonomous organization designated to assess arts needs, develop programs and services to meet those needs, and distribute funds to arts programs in its region.

All of the regional arts councils began as programs of larger regional development commissions. MRAC was a program of the Metropolitan Council until 1989, when MRAC became an independent nonprofit organization.