Arts Activities Support Round 2 Awards

On June 13, 2017 MRAC awarded a total of $740,272 to 77 organizations/projects in the second round of the FY 2017 Arts Activities Support grant program. The organizations and projects chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a community connection. The following is a complete list of grantees sorted by the county where the activity will take place and includes award amounts, project summaries, and links to the grantees’ website. Note that Suburban Hennepin and Suburban Ramsey counties are listed separately from the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Carver County

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum $9,790.00
Funding to partner with the Somali Museum of Minnesota to host a nature-inspired art exhibition and accompanying educational opportunities from December 2017 – March 2018 in the Arboretum’s Reedy Gallery in Chaska.

River City Theatre Company $9,500.00
Funding for its 21st community production, The Curious Savage. Six performances will take place at the Watertown-Mayer Primary School Auditorium in October 2017.

Dakota County

Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community $10,000.00


Funding for the 18th Annual Traditional Wacipi, a three-day Native American celebration and social gathering. Activities will take place on the St. Peters Church grounds in Mendota in September 2017.


Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs $10,000.00
Funding to support free Winter and Spring Choral Concerts by the 270 youth participating in Angelica Cantati Youth Choir’s five ensembles. The Winter Concert will be held at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in December 2017, and the Spring Concert will be held at the Ordway Concert Hall in St. Paul in May 2018.

Art Shanty Projects $10,000.00
Funding to curate and present the 2018 Art Shanty Projects, 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 2018.

ArtiCulture $10,000.00
Funding for the Youth Arts Collaborative, a program to help urban youth develop skills in creative design, leadership and community activism. In partnership with the Audubon Society of Minnesota, teens will pair with teaching artists to create up to eight community public art installations on utility boxes while addressing issues of tagging and blight.

Bakken Trio $10,000.00
Funding for Sunshine Concerts in the Parks, a series of 12 chamber music concerts at Minneapolis Park and Recreation centers as part of the Park Board recreation and day care program for kids aged 6 to 12. Concerts will take place in late July and early August 2017.

Black Storytellers Alliance $10,000.00
Funding for 26th 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 2017.

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) $9,302.00
Funding to bring together diverse constituents, neighbors, local emerging artists, and partner organizations to design and paint a mural on the south wall of the organization’s center for worker and community organizing. Activities will take place between fall 2017 and spring 2018.

Community Involvement Programs $10,000.00
Funding to collaborate with Upstream Arts on its Art of Working program, using performing arts practices to develop social and communication skills for individuals who have struggled to be contributing members of their communities due to challenges with social interaction, communication, and other social skills as a function of their disabilities.

Ebenezer Society Foundation $8,200.00
Funding for the Life Long Learning “Talking Suitcases” program, a visual arts, mixed media sculpture program that will provide seniors residing at Ebenezer Ridges and Minneapolis campuses with the opportunity to create mixed media projects that reflect their story and legacy. The program is designed for all artistic, physical, and cognitive abilities, and will culminate in a public community exhibit.

Exposed Brick Theatre $10,000.00
Funding to produce CLOTH, an original play by Aamera Siddiqui which explores the relationship between women across cultures to cloth, covering and choice and the many factors that influence this choice. CLOTH will be presented at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis in December 2017.

Fortune’s Fool $9,000.00
Funding to produce the world premiere of The Lady with a Lap Dog, a musical with book and lyrics by Daniel Pinkerton and music by Robert Elhai, adapted from Anton Chekhov’s short story of the same name. Performances will take place at Open Eye Figure Theatre in September 2017.

Friends of the Mill District $6,500.00
Funding for five, six-week cycles of choir rehearsals and performances under the direction of J.D. Steele for residents living in downtown Minneapolis’ Mill District. Activities will take place between September 2017 and May 2018.

Gender Reel $7,500.00
Funding for the 7th year of Gender Reel, a film festival featuring 30 or more independently made media programs focusing on the experiences of trans people from around the world. Gender Reel will take place at the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis during October 2017.

Hennepin Health Foundation $10,000.00
Funding for ArtCare Mosaic, a 12-month participatory arts activities program to cancer and pediatric patients and their families at Hennepin County Medical Center to introduce creative expression and optimize healing. The activities will culminate in a public exhibition of works in April 2018.

Hopewell Music Cooperative North $9,350.00
Funding to support the second year of the Hopewell Orchestral Achievement Project, a series of rehearsals and performances to elevate the artistic skills of students, as well as to engage and stimulate audiences. Students will study challenging curriculum through side-by-side performance and mentorship in sectionals with professional musicians from the Minnesota Sinfonia beginning in September 2017.

Indian Music Society of Minnesota (IMSOM) $10,000.00
Funding to support four chamber concerts and one community festival of Indian classical music in its Fall Concert Series 2017. The four chamber concerts, to be held between August and October, will feature internationally renowned artists from India. The November festival will feature local community artists.

Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project $10,000.00
Funding for Iraqi Voices at the Guthrie, a weekend of Iraqi immigrant and refugee visual art, theatre, and film at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio. The project will present three nights of theatre performances, with each night concluding in a community engagement activity. Activities will take place in October 2018.

Jawaahir Dance Company $10,000.00
Funding for the 2017 Jawaahir Studio Theater Show, an intimate, cabaret-style evening that features an eclectic mix of Arab dance and music from among regional styles of the 22 Arab-speaking countries. Performances will take place at the Jawaahir Studio Theater in November 2017.

JLR Foundation $10,000.00
Funding for Summer Music Camp 2017, a six-week intensive for 25 youth ages 10-18 to learn instrumental and vocal composition, multi-media digital creation, recording technology, and performance skills. The camp culminates in an outdoor live performance. Activities will be held in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood in Minneapolis from June – August 2017.

Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra $10,000.00
Funding for the orchestra’s 37th season, featuring nine free, classic concerts at churches, parks, nursing homes, and hospice care centers.

Mizna $10,000.00
Funding for the 12th Arab Film Festival, a five-day festival featuring 25 to 30 films by Arab and Arab-American emerging, independent, and established filmmakers. The event will open at the Walker Art Center and continue at the Film Society’s screen at St. Anthony Main Theatre. The film festival will occur in September – October 2017.

Movement Architecture $10,000.00
Funding for All Hail the Queen, a dance piece which delves into women’s experience. Using movement, voice, visual and architectural elements, this work explores the multi-faceted complexities of the vagina. Movement Architecture will create a performance installation in collaboration with visual artist Amelia Biewald which the audience will move through, as if traveling through a vaginal, or creative, space. The performances will be presented over two weekends in the early summer of 2018.

Nimbus Theatre $10,000.00
Funding to produce and present Ludlow, a new play portraying the events surrounding the Ludlow Massacre, which took the lives of 66 men, women, and children, and ultimately led to labor reforms in the mining industry. Performances will take place at The Crane Theater in November 2017.

Our Circo Book Truck $10,000.00
Funding for a mobile arts and literacy program that aims to support, engage, and empower children to read, learn, and grow in English and Spanish. The program will take place alongside a traveling 1978 circus-themed motor coach at three public sites between May and July 2018.

Patrick’s Cabaret $10,000.00
Funding for the 2017-2018 Cabaret season, including 10 Cabarets featuring over 60 performances of new, experimental works from artists on the edge of culture.

Platform $10,000.00
Funding for Platform, a new Minneapolis-based alternative space, to open in September 2017 with an inaugural solo exhibition by the Lino Lakes-based artist Pao Houa Her. The artist will premier a major installation examining the controversial Hmong General Vang Pao (1929-2011), who led CIA-trained Hmong forces in the Vietnam War and played a central role in was the subsequent Hmong immigration to the United States.

Redeemer Center for Life $10,000.00
Funding for H-Cubed, an artist-led, community-driven, family-centered, grassroots series created to cultivate healing and harmony in North Minneapolis. Each monthly gathering will host a catered meal and event with both featured artists and an open mic to share art, music, poetry, and stories.

Right Here Commissions $10,000.00
Funding to support the presentation of The 4th Annual Right Here Showcase, a juried mini-festival of mid-career Minnesota-based performing artists who create original contemporary performance work, to be presented in Minneapolis at The Art Box in May 2018.

Singers in Accord $10,000.00
Funding to present Global Windows: How the World Sings, a concert led by guest conductor Angela Broeker highlighting approaches to group singing done in countries and cultures outside the Western European and American traditions. Performances will take place in November 2017.

Soo Visual Arts Center $10,000.00
Funding for the 14th annual Untitled exhibition series, featuring world renown guest curators to select artists from submissions. The exhibition will be held at the Soo Visual Arts Center between March and April 2018.

Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater $9,600.00


Funding for Moving with Cancer, a new community project that will reach patients, family members, and caregivers through a series of movement and story workshops. The workshops will culminate in a public event in November 2017.

The DIAL Group $8,000.00
Funding for the Media Arts Apprenticeship Program, an arts and creative professional development program for young artists of color with an interest in exploring media arts and new media as a potential career. The program will give emerging media artists a first-hand look at the working life of professional artists, creative organizations, and businesses through apprenticeships, mentorships, training, and service-learning projects.

The Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts $10,000.00
Funding for two issues of the Phoenix of Phillips literary magazine, a collection of writings and visual works made for and by members of the Phillips community in Minneapolis. Each publication will be supported by community workshops with activities taking place between July 2017 and June 2018.

Theatre Coup d’Etat $10,000.00
Funding to produce Moby Dick, an original adaptation from the novel by Herman Melville. Performances will take place at Fallout Arts Initiative in Minneapolis in November 2017.

Theatre Pro Rata $10,000.00
Funding to produce The Minotaur, by Anna Ziegler, a retelling of the Greek myth that juxtaposes the ancient concept of fatalism against the modern concept of free will. Performances will take place at the Crane Theater in Minneapolis in October 2017.

Threads Dance Project $10,000.00


Funding for Tapestries 3.0, an emerging choreographers’ showcase providing opportunities for artists, particularly choreographers of color or female choreographers, to present work in a professional setting. Activities will take place from Summer 2017 – Spring 2018 and culminate in a performance at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis.

TigerLion Arts $10,000.00
Funding to present Nature, an outdoor walking play about the lives of Emerson and Thoreau highlighting the importance of nature in our daily lives, while providing audiences with lasting tools to connect with their own environments. Free performances will take place at Minneapolis’ Washburn Fair Oaks Park in September 2017.

Wakemup Productions $10,000.00
Funding to support the development and presentation of a performance piece incorporating the historic Native American art form “Ledger Art.” Community workshops, historical presentations, and additional youth activities will culminate in public performances at the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s pow wow and a march from the Little Earth housing project during the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in October 2017.

WLDRNSS $10,000.00
Funding to support the creation of a world premiere devised play, WHEN I NOD MY HEAD YOU HIT IT WITH A HAMMER, a work set in the depths of an antique theater exploring themes of lost potential, self-doubt, personal anxiety, wonder and hope. Performances will take place at The Southern Theater in September 2017.

Young Dance, Inc. $10,000.00
Funding for Looking Back, Leaping Forward, a 30th anniversary season to celebrate the past and propel the company into a future that elevates social justice as a focus of continued programming. Guided by guest artists Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, Marcus Young, Marylee Hardenbergh, and H. Adam Harris, Young Dance will remount past repertory and create new dances that prod the intersection of dance and social justice and present a season culminating concert at the Lab Theater in May 2018.

Saint Paul

Advocating Change Together $10,000.00


Funding for an integrated monthly singing group open to all people with developmental disabilities and their allies, to build leadership, social connection and disability awareness by singing together. The project consists of nine monthly rehearsals and three public performances.

BareBones Productions $10,000.00


Funding to stage the 24th Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza, a free outdoor pageant and performance that will take place at Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul in October 2017.

Border CrosSing $10,000.00
Funding for Puentes, a year-long series of concerts held by choral ensemble Border CrosSING at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The project integrates Latino audiences, culture, and artists with the Minnesota choral scene to be accessible and relevant to Latino audiences, allowing for a fundamental change in the traditional choral landscape. Performances will take place between September 2017 and May 2018.

Combustible Company $10,000.00
Funding for the world premiere of local playwright Brian Vinero’s original verse translation of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid, a farce about pharmaceutical addiction and the rising cost of healthcare. The performances will be held at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul in April 2018.

CRASH $10,000.00
Funding for Sight of Hand, a live musical event at a St. Paul Saints baseball game, using coaching signals as inspiration for creating percussion performance art. The event, which includes audience participation, will take place in September 2017.

Crossroads Panorama $10,000.00
Funding to present the 8th annual production of Scrooge in tha Hood, an adaptation of the renowned classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens addressing greed in the context of current social issues including violence, drug abuse, and broken relationships. Performances will take place at Ober Community Center in December 2017.

Flying Forms $10,000.00
Funding to support the 2017-18 concert series of baroque chamber music. Four concerts will be presented at the Baroque Room in Lowertown Saint Paul from December 2017 – May 2018.

Frank Theatre $10,000.00


Funding to present the area premiere of British playwright Alice Birch’s Revolt She Said, and Revolt Again. Performances will take place at Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul in September and October 2017.

Green T Productions $10,000.00
Funding to develop and produce A Modern Promotheus using Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Promotheus as a launch pad from which to explore themes of outsider status and abandonment. Performances will take place at the Historic Mounds Theater in St. Paul in September 2017.

Highland Friendship Club $6,476.00
Funding to retain Cow Tipping Press (CTP) to provide two literary arts classes for 20 people 14-45+ years old with physical and cognitive disabilities. The classes will run for five weeks each and explore a different literary genre during September and October 2017. The project will culminate in a public reading of new work at the Show Gallery in Lowertown St. Paul in November 2017.

Hill House Chamber Players $8,849.00
Funding for chamber music concerts featuring compositions that involve life experiences in times of war. Performances will be at the Veteran Administration Hospital and the James J. Hill House in St. Paul, where the group is based. The VA Hospital performances are be free and open to the public and take place in November 2017 and March 2018 with 2 Saturdays performances in between. Four concerts will take place at the James J. Hill House in October 2017, February 2018 and March 2018.

Hmong Arts Enrichment Program Committee $10,000.00
Funding for traditional music, dance, art, embroidery & folktale classes for youth at the Hmong Village shopping complex in St. Paul during the summer of 2017.

In Progress $8,000.00
Funding for the North End Arts Initiative which presents 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 2017 – May 2018 in St. Paul.

Katha Dance Theatre $10,000.00
Funding for the summer production of Ritu – The Seasons, featuring classical and contemporary dance and music by international and local artists. Based on classic poetry by ancient and contemporary poets of India, the free performances will take place at Como Pavilion in St. Paul during July 2017.

Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute $10,000.00
Funding to continue the Writer’s Table with the Writer in Residence within the After-School Homework Help program. After students complete their homework, they will explore a creative writing prompt from the Writer in Residence and the works will be created into a chapbook. The program will run the 2017-2018 academic year at MOI’s site in St. Paul.

Minhua Chorus $10,000.00
Funding to produce a full-length concert featuring songs and dances of Northern Chinese culture. The concert will be held at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul in November 2017.

Minnesota Chinese Dance Theater $10,000.00
Funding to produce its 25th annual concert featuring Chinese classical and folk dances. The concert will take place at Brady Educational Auditorium at the University of Saint Thomas in January 2018.

Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women $10,000.00
Funding for the “Real Love Is…” arts engagement project, creating an interactive and mobile art project to engage youth in discussions on healthy relationships, culminating in an art installation that reflects the youth’s stories about relationships. Activities will occur from July 2017 – May 2018.

Oratorio Society of Minnesota $10,000.00
Funding for the concert “Better is Peace, The Music of Karl Jenkins” which seeks to honor the sacrifices of many through appeals for peace. The concert will include a high school choir from Prior Lake along with Twin Cities premiers of two Karl Jenkins works, and will be held at the Ordway Concert Hall in St. Paul in November 2017.

STYLUS $10,000.00
Funding for a live model exhibit and runway styled show featuring beauty artists of color. STYLUS Cultural Renaissance will help educate attendees about cultural differences in the beauty industry and cultural appropriation in mainstream media. The event will be held at Midpoint Event Center in St. Paul in September 2017.

TaikoArts Midwest $10,000.00
Funding for Taiko Tuesdays, a monthly taiko concert series, free and open to the public, designed to increase the accessibility, appreciation, and awareness of taiko as an art form. Performances will held at various locations in St. Paul between September 2017 and August 2018.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library $10,000.00
Funding to produce the 24th season of the Fireside Reading Series, a program featuring Minnesota writers who have published a new work in the past year. Each season is curated to feature authors working in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir genres, with additional attention to ensuring a diversity of voices. The 2018 series will take place on six consecutive Wednesdays in the fireside room of the Hamline-Midway Library in Saint Paul in January – February 2018.

Twin Cities Media Alliance $9,900.00 /
Funding for Our Space Is Spoken For, a multidisciplinary storytelling project to foster awareness, dialogue, and engagement around the untold narratives of how marginalized communities in St. Paul redefine and negotiate space. Spoken word poets, performance, and visual artists will adapt residents’ essays into performance pieces that will be done in the geographic locations the stories are based. The project will culminate in a public screening of a film showing all new pieces.

Urban Roots MN $10,000.00


Funding for the 3rd and Maria Community Mural Project led by the Urban Roots Youth Council to bring visual art to the East Side by creating a mural on the wall of Phoenix Market. A community-led design process will result in a mural that speaks to the experiences of those in the immediate area and promotes healthy living while breaking down stereotypes of the East Side. Activities will occur from July 2017 – April 2018.

Wonderlust Productions $10,000.00
Funding to stage a community-driven play with music and dance about and at the State Capitol, centered on stories shared by a diverse cross-section of people who work at the Capitol. Performances will take place at the Capitol building in January and February 2018.

Zeitgeist $10,000.00
Funding for the 2017-2018 Eric Stokes Song Contest program, which includes the Song Contest and Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concerts. Activities include conducting the contest, rehearsing the winning works, and presenting concerts featuring the winning works through 2 performances at Studio Z in St. Paul in February 2018 and one concert at the Capri Theater in Minneapolis in April 2018.

Suburban Hennepin County
Alive & Kickin $10,000.00


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 2017 and June 2018.

Minnesota Masonic Home $5,065.00
Funding for the Intergenerational Masonic Homes Story Telling Through Art Project, which will bring youth and seniors together to learn new art skills while creating garden sculptures and an indoor mosaic art piece. Classes will take place at Masonic Home sites in Bloomington in July and August 2017 and will culminate in an art show in August 2018.

Zenith Services $5,240.00
Funding for “On the Job: A Creative Exploration” to engage teaching artists from Upstream Arts for a 12-week residency for up to 20 people with disabilities served by Zenith Services. The residency will take place over two 6-week sessions in July – August 2017 and September – October 2017 at Zenith Services in Hopkins.

Suburban Ramsey County

Dark & Stormy Productions $10,000.00
Funding for the closing production of Dark & Stormy’s 5th season, a revival of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ‘NIGHT, MOTHER. The performances will be held in December 2017.

Rain Taxi Inc. $10,000.00
Funding to produce its 17th 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 2017.

Washington County

ArtReach St. Croix $10,000.00
Funding for ArtReach St. Croix to “take the show on the road” during the fall art fairs in the St. Croix Valley. ArtReach’s Mobile Art Gallery will present free Pop-up Performances featuring a trio from the St. Croix Jazz Orchestra surrounded by a series of paintings depicting jazz musicians on three Sunday mornings in September 2017. The roaming tour will culminate with a free concert by the St. Croix Jazz Orchestra’s full Big Band at Stillwater Fall Colors Art & Jazz Fest in October 2017.

Merrill Community Arts Center $10,000.00
Funding for a new Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Series as part of the 2017-2018 Performing Arts Season. Two productions adapted for youth, Junie B. Jones – The Musical and Madagascar – A Musical Adventure will be presented in August and October 2017 at Merrill Community Arts Center in Woodbury.

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop $10,000.00
Funding to bring five ten-week introductory creative writing classes to state prisons in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Students will have the opportunity to complete several pieces of writing through classes offered from July – December 2017 at Minnesota Correctional Facilities in Stillwater, Shakopee, Lino Lakes, and Oak Park Heights. All classes will culminate with in-facility readings in December 2017.

Washington County Jail $10,000.00
Funding for the Women’s Writing Program for women incarcerated in the Washington County Jail. Activities will take place beginning July 2017 and culminate in the publication of of selective works in an anthology that will be placed in libraries.

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