MRAC Awards $878,950 in Arts Activities Support Grants

On September 25, 2018, the MRAC board awarded $878,950.00 to 90 organizations/projects in the first round of its FY 2019 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 workshops to theater productions to festivals 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.

We thank our panelists who provided their time and expertise to the review of these applications:
Adrienne Doyle, Amelia Foster, Ann Spencer, Anna Ostroushko, Bob Peskin, Caitlin Hammel, Chai Lee, Chandler Daily, Chris Garza, Daisuke Kawachi, Dan Peltzman, David Kang, Dawne Brown White, Denise Tennen, Elin Anderson, Emma Kasiga, Eri Isomura, Erika Dani, Fatima Camara, Haley Cramer, Hawona Sullivan Janzen, Heather Peebles, Jamie Marshall, Julia Hobart, Karla Arredondo-Payan, Kasey Payette, Kate Hujda, Laura Leffler, Mai Vang, Marggie Ogas, Martha West, Mike Alberti, Nancy Cook, Nina Robinson, Nora Riemenschneider, Pete Driessen, Prabana Balapuwaduge Mendis, Reona Berry, Sara Kleinsasser Tan, Sophie Liu-Othmer, Teqen Zea-Aida, Tisidra Jones

Photo above: Performance poet Talia Young in dialogue with moderator Emma Kippley-Ogman as part of the Rimon Salon Series event entitled “Turn It & Turn It Again: Text as Power in Judaism and Slam Poetry.” Photo by Debra Fisher Goldstein.

Anoka County

10th Wave Chamber Music Collective $10,000
Funding to perform two interdisciplinary chamber music series, Transcending Conflict and Unfree, each to be performed twice in educational and music store auditoriums between November 2018 and May 2019.

Northern Starz Theatre $10,000
Funding for the company’s Social Issues Troupe’s second production, Just Kidding, Just Fine, and Other Lies. Performances will take place in January 2019.

Carver County

Watertown-Mayer Community Education $10,000
Funding for a seven-week Youth Summer Theatre Program featuring an original script and musical score. This is will be the thirty first anniversary of the start of Summer Youth Theatre. The program will take place during the summer of 2019, at the Watertown-Mayer Performing Arts Center and will culminate with four public performances.

Dakota County

(lumin)theater lab $10,000
Funding for an original stage adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Performances and related talk-back sessions will be at the Hastings Courthouse in February 2019.

Caponi Art Park $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Summer Performance Series, three immersive performance/experiences that take place June – August 2019 in park’s Theater in the Woods Amphitheater in Eagan.

Chamber Music Lakeville $6,286
Funding for the 2019 season of coffee concerts at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. The January 2019 concert features Minnesota Opera Resident Artists; Uptown Brass will perform in the February 2019 concert; the April 2019 will feature OboeBassFluteCello! with Julie Johnson, flute, & Jacqueline Ultan, cello of J2J; and the June 2019 concert will be a MacPhail Spotlight with Mischa Santora conducting.

Youth Dance Ensemble $9,680
Funding for the MODERN DANCE PROJECT, an eight-week after-school program for economically disadvantaged and academically at risk 6th – 8th grade youth from Burnsville. The project occurs in January – March 2019 and culminates with a Community Concert at Burnsville High School.


20% Theatre Company $9,900
Funding for the 6th annual Q-STAGE: New Works Series, an experimental series dedicated to providing a stage and resources for queer & transgender artists to create, develop, and premiere new work. Performances will take place at The Phoenix Theater in May 2019.

Alternative Motion Project $10,000
Funding for Alternative Motion Project’s 8th Annual Performance, including the production of four dance works, a rehearsal process and audience engagement activities. Performances will take place at The LAB Theater in March 2019.

Ananya Dance Theatre $10,000
Funding for Sutrajaal: Revelations of Gossamer, an original, full-length work for premiere in The O’Shaughnessy’s Women of Substance series at St. Catherine University in September 2019.

ARENA DANCES, Inc. $10,000
Funding to present CANDY BOX Dance Festival, an eclectic annual festival of featured artist performances, workshops, public showings, and dance community panel discussions. Activities will take place at the Southern Theater in April 2019.

Balkanicus Institute for Balkan Art Culture and History $10,000
Funding to produce two free public concerts of the Balkanicus Ensemble, featuring contemporary Balkan chamber music. Concerts will be held at Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall on the U of MN campus in April and October 2019.

Cleveland Neighborhood Association $10,000
Funding for Live On the Drive, a free concert series held on Victory Memorial Drive in North Minneapolis featuring high caliber musicians and celebrating the diverse talents of the community. The series will consist of three concerts held on the second Thursday of June, July, and August 2019.

Full Circle Theater Company $10,000
Funding to produce the award winning play Caught, by Christopher Chen. Performances will take place at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio in May and June 2019.

Grace Minnesota $8,800
Funding for Don’t You Feel It Too?, a participatory practice of dancing one’s inner life in public spaces. The 2019 season of activities will include more than 80 public sessions, three large-scale events, and an expansion of the cohort to 30 members, between March and August 2019.

Hope Community, Inc. $10,000
Funding for The Power of Vision, a community mural program that will engage at least 35 indigenous people and people of color to design and produce two distinct public murals. The project will take place between June and September 2019, and will culminate in a public mural unveiling ceremony and community celebration.

Human Combat Chess $10,000
Funding for Human Combat Chess, an annual theatrical production grounded in teaching and increasing the level of Stage Combat in the Twin Cities. Performances will take place at Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis in June 2019.

Indigenous Peoples Task Force $10,000
Funding for the Ikidowin Program, a theater program for Native teens to develop trust, improve theater skills, maintain meaningful relationships between adults and teens, create and perform theater that is relevant to community concerns and culture, and educate and inspire audiences. The program will take place between October 2018 and April 2019.

Inverted Arts $10,000
Funding for a 13-15 minute documentary film featuring multi-generational stories of the Little Earth Native American community in South Minneapolis, co-produced by three Little Earth student interns. The film will be in production winter – summer 2019 with a screening at the Pow Wow Grounds Arts Gallery in Minneapolis during fall 2019.

Kairos Alive! $10,000
Funding for the creation of Finding Friends, a new community dance work, developed through a cultural exchange project, and utilizing the organization’s Intergenerational Dance Hall model. The collaborative project will partner with Centro Tyrone Guzman, Minneapolis American Indian Center, Volunteers of America Park ElderCenter, and Orchestra Hall, with culminating community dance work in spring 2019.

Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra $9,357
Funding to support three, free orchestral programs as part of the orchestra’s 38th season. Each program will be performed twice, once at an elder care facility and again at a Minneapolis church or park. Performances will take place between February and June 2019.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet Association $10,000
Funding to present with soprano Clara Ozowski and flutist Linda Chatterton the world premieres of two recently commissioned works by Minnesota composer Mary Ellen Childs and Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. Performances and additional workshops will take place in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and White Bear Lake in May 2019.

Minneapolis Pops Orchestra Association $10,000
Funding to perform five Free Concerts for Seniors during July 2019. Four coffee concerts will be held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis, with listeners bused in from senior care facilities throughout the Twin Cities. A fifth community concert will be held in Elliot Park in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis County

Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop $10,000
Funding for the New Puppetworks Project, a contemporary puppet theater program, offering Native/POC artists the opportunity to create a short puppet performance, and to gain skills in contemporary puppet theater production and artistry. The project will culminate in the presentation of new works in June 2019.

MPLS (imPulse) $10,000
Funding to present two, ninety-minute thematic choral programs in the Twin Cities in diverse, nontraditional performance venues. Performances will take place in January and April of 2019.

Nokomis East Neighborhood Association $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Minneapolis Monarch Festival, a celebration of the monarch butterfly’s migration from Minnesota to Mexico. The bilingual festival blends artistic programs, environmental education and community building and will take place in September 2019.

Open Eye Figure Theatre $10,000
Funding for the 17th annual Driveway Tour program that brings family-friendly puppet shows to over 100 neighborhoods in the Metro Area. Performances will take place in summer 2019.

Oratory Bach Ensemble $10,000
Funding for two performances of J.S. Bach’s masterwork, B Minor Mass. Performances will take place in Minneapolis and St. Paul in summer 2019.

Public Functionary $10,000
Funding for a solo exhibition by Minneapolis-based visual artist, Jose Domingues. The exhibition, presented in an effort to better understand and leverage the unique contemporary art platform Public Functionary provides through mentorship, vital resources and one-on-one support for emerging artists of color, will take place in November 2018.

Red Eye Collaboration $10,000
Funding for NEW WORKS 4 WEEKS 2019, a multidisciplinary performance festival that serves as the culmination of Red Eye’s artist development programs, which provide space and technical support for the creation of new work. The project will begin in fall 2018 and culminates in the presentation of new works in May and June 2019.

Rhythmically Speaking $10,000
Funding for Rhythmically Speaking: The Cohort, a new program supporting the shared development of new work by local and national choreographers. This project will culminate in a production at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis during August 2019.

Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council $10,000
Funding to produce four Artist Salon series, engaging Jewish artists from various disciplines in dialogue with local audiences. The Artist Salons will take place at various venues in St. Paul and Minneapolis between October 2018 and April 2019.

Salsa Fiesta $10,000
Funding for Minnesota Salsa Fiesta, a music and dance collaboration and celebration featuring live salsa ensembles and Latin dance performance groups. The event will feature a series of open rehearsals concluding with a final event at the Cedar Cultural Center in May 2019.

SEALIT Center $10,000
Funding to present a 20-year retrospective of the Laomagination arts movement with roots in the Twin Cities, engaging interdisciplinary refugee speculative arts in post-war reconstruction and intercultural harmony. The exhibit will run for four weeks in a North Minneapolis location.

Shakespearean Youth Theatre $10,000
Funding for a 5-show run of the tragicomedy The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. The production will be performed by youth ages 13 – 19 who do not attend a traditional school. The five performances will occur in March 2019 at the JSB Tek Box Theater in Minneapolis’ Cowles Center.

Singers in Accord $10,000
Funding to work with guest conductor Ahmed Anzaldua to present Phenomena: The Awe and Mystery, a concert of three important choral works, including the Minnesota premier of Oceana by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. Performances will take place in April 2019.

Soo Visual Arts Center $10,000
Funding for the 15th annual Untitled exhibition series, featuring world renown guest curator to select artists from submissions. The exhibition will be held at Soo Visual Arts Center between February and March of 2019.

Southside Family Nurturing Center $6,000
Funding for the Our Drumming and Dancing Across Cultures project, a series of lessons on traditional drumming representing Continental African, Latin American, and Native American cultures. Each series of lessons will actively engage Southside Family Nurturing Center children, parents and families, between October 2018 and May 2019.

TaikoArts Midwest $10,000
Funding to produce a taiko concert featuring Ensō Daiko and guest artist Tiffany Tamaribuchi. Performances will take place at the Southern Theater in November 2018.

Thanksgiving Celebration Pow-wow Committee $10,000
Funding for the 2018 Thanksgiving Celebration Pow-Wow, a high-caliber artistically-sound, yet accessible community pow-wow that engages dancers, drummers, and community members as a strategy to promote, maintain, and transmit the indigenous traditions of dance and drum. The event will be held at the Minneapolis American Indian Center in November 2018.

The DIAL Group $10,000
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 community-focused projects.

The Theater of Public Policy $10,000
Funding for a series of eight weekly improv shows featuring a local policy expert who will discuss an important issue, followed by a team of comedic improvisers who will present unscripted scenes about the issue. Performances will take place at the Bryant Lake Bowl in April and May 2019.

Theatre 55 $10,000
Funding for community members age 55+ will work with and learn theatre skills from theater veterans to fully produce the theatrical production HAIR. Performances will be held in January – February 2019 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

Threads Dance Project $6,100
Funding for Threads’ Fall 2019 performance season, including a premiere of a new work, Objet Petit (an unattainable object of desire) in November 2019.

Tru Ruts Endeavors $10,000
Funding to present Khephra: A Hip Hop Xmas, an innovative approach to the traditional medium of theater with puppetry and urban music forms such as hip hop, yiri, gospel, and highlife, to honor the culture, ancestry, and ritual of the holiday season. Performances will take place at Open Eye Figure Theater in November and December 2018.

Turtle Theater Collective $10,000
Funding to present Larissa Fasthorse’s play, What Would Crazy Horse Do? Performances will take place at Mixed Blood Theatre in July 2019.

Twin Cities Carifest $10,000
Funding for Carifest, a family-friendly festival featuring Caribbean music, storytelling, dance, cuisine, and a Carnival-style parade that will take place in Minneapolis in July 2019.

Twin Cities Jazz Workshop $10,000
Funding for the Twin Cities Jazz Workshop, a summer experience offering professional music instruction to local students with a culminating local performance opportunity at a professional jazz venue. The program will take place in summer 2019.

Umbrella Collective $10,000
Funding for the production of Velvet Swing, a new theater work inspired by the life of Evelyn Nesbit. Performances will take place at Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater during April 2019.

Vibrant and Safe Downtown $10,000
Funding to launch Fringe Presents: Beyond the Box, a series of free, public performing arts events at the new Nicollet Theater in the Round amphitheater outside the Minneapolis Central Library. Performances will take place in spring and summer 2019.

Scott County

APIA MN Film Project $10,000
Funding for the APIA MN Film Collective’s On-Set Training Program, providing on-set and on-the-job training to emerging APIA filmmakers from the Twin Cities to produce an original short film written by Naomi Ko. Activities will occur March – May 2019.

Saint Paul

Bach Society of Minnesota $8,950
Funding to present two “Bach with Friends” workshops that will engage amateur musicians in the process of rehearsing and performing Bach’s music while working alongside professional musicians. Activities will occur at Hamline United Methodist in St. Paul during March 2019 and at St. John Evangelical Lutheran in Corcoran during September 2019.

Brownbody $10,000
Funding to research, rehearse, and perform Tracing Steps, an evening length on ice work focused on 17th through 19th century Black Social Dance in the United States. Performances will be held at Highland Ice Arena in St. Paul during fall 2019.

CAAM Chinese Dance Theater $10,000
Funding for the annual dance production exploring Chinese cultural and artistic themes around the Tea Culture in China to launch the Chinese New Year. Performances will be at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul during January 2019.

Center for Hmong Arts and Talent $10,000
Funding for the Arts Saves Us (ASU) Music Program, an after-school enrichment program that will teach music to Hmong youth ages 14-18 from October 2018 – January 2019.

ComMUSICation $6,960
Funding for CMC Choir to expand to include ukulele as part of fall programming. Performances will be held in November 2018 and January 2019.

Consortium Carissimi $10,000
Funding for Alma Gentil (translation “Sweet Soul”), the last performance of Consortium Carissimi’s 2018-2019 season. The program will create a bridge between early Italian baroque music and contemporary jazz with performances during May 2019 at the new performing arts center of the St. Paul Conservatory of Music.

Contempo Physical Dance $9,500
Funding to present Bahia/Minnesota (working title), about Afro-Braziilan history and themes, at The O’Shaughnessy for three performances during February 2019.

East Side Arts Council $10,000
Funding for Artmobile, a mobile art project offering six weeks of free drop in art classes for inner city youth. Artmobile sets up in outdoor community spaces around the East Side of St. Paul in the summer of 2019.

El Arco Iris $10,000
Funding for a seventeen week program offering 25-35 youth an opportunity to learn about the traditional Afro Puerto Rican folkloric rhythms, songs and dance (Bomba & Plena) through art, dancing and music classes. Activities take place at the Dunning Recreation Center in St. Paul and will culminate with a family showcase in March 2019.

Frank Theatre $10,000
Funding to present Marc Blitzstein’s labor-opera CRADLE WILL ROCK. Performances will take place at the Gremlin Theatre in March and April 2019.

Gremlin Theatre $10,000
Funding to produce the play THE FATHER (winner of the 2014 Moliere Award for France’s best play), about a daughter attempting to care for her failing and difficult father as he descends into dementia. Performances will be in January 2019 at the Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul.

Her Voice Productions $10,000
Funding to present Be the Change, a collaborative concert and workshop with Emma’s Revolution, dedicated to the empowerment of women’s voices. The concert will take place at The O’Shaughnessy in February 2019,

India Association of Minnesota $10,000
Funding for IndiaFest 2019, which will present 90 Indian-Asian artists during its one-day event. IndiaFest will be held in August 2019 at the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul.

Irish Music & Dance Association $10,000
Funding for the 38th consecutive annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and the 17th consecutive annual Day of Irish Dance. Both events will be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, on separate days, during March of 2019.

Lower Phalen Creek Project $9,840
Funding to hire filmmaker John Kaul to create an original 4-5-minute documentary video about cultural healing to be featured in a community discussion at East Side Freedom Library in St. Paul during December 2018.

Lowertown Blues Festival $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Lowertown Blues Festival which will showcase 85 Minnesota blues artists performing for 30,000 attendees in Lowertown St. Paul’s Mears Park during June 2019.

Midwest Special Services, Inc. $10,000
Funding for adults with disabilities to work with a Textile Center teaching artist to create collaborative wall hangings as well as individual textile pieces while learning about Shibori fabric dyeing methods and expanding their knowledge of embroidery. Activities will culminate in an exhibition at The Show Gallery Lowertown in St. Paul and the Textile Center’s Library Gallery during winter 2019 and spring 2020.

Million Artist Movement $10,000
Funding for six interactive art-making community workshops from October 2018 – May 2019. Workshops will be held at various St. Paul and Minneapolis venues.

Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health $10,000
Funding for Fidgety Fairy Tales – The Mental Health Musical, a 40-minute performance using familiar fairy tales to raise awareness of children’s mental health disorders. Fidgety Fairy Tales will be performed 10 times at sites throughout the Twin Cities metro area during April – May 2019.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company $10,000
Funding for Actually by Anna Ziegler, a new play that tells the story of two students at Princeton as they recount their evening together to a university panel charged with assessing if sexual assault took place. Performance will occur in February and March 2019 at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s theater in St. Paul.

Minnesota Music Coalition $10,000
Funding for the 8th annual MN Music Summit, a music festival and conference for artists, fans and those working in the music industry. The summit will feature workshops, mentoring sessions, a national keynote speaker and concerts showcasing emerging bands and Minnesota acts. MN Music Summit will take place in St. Paul and Minneapolis during April 2019.

Funding for 29 jazz concerts focusing on the music of African American hard bop composers, with a brief oral explanation of the song’s and composer’s history given between song performances. The free concerts will be held in breweries between October 2018 and June 2019.

More Than a Single Story $9,500
Funding for More Than A Single Story, a series of four events including three interactive readings and community conversations with indigenous writers and writers of color reading from their own original works, and one day-long experiential workshop that will engage communities in creative exploration with IPOC writers and other artists. Activities will take place between October 2018 and September 2019.

Musical Offering $10,000
Funding for three concerts in 2018 and 2019 to present chamber concerts at Sundin Music Hall in St. Paul. Performances will occur in November 2018, March 2019, and June 2019.

Oratorio Society of Minnesota $9,525
Funding for “Victoria – A Life in Music,” an evening of stories and music from the Victorian era to celebrate the bicentennial year of Queen Victoria’s birth. The production includes actors, soloists, a chorus, orchestra and organ, will focus on milestones from the Queen’s almost 64 year-reign in England. Two performances will take place in April 2019 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis and Hamline Church United Methodist in St. Paul.

Selby Ave JazzFest $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Selby Ave JazzFest, an annual free event featuring jazz performances, family activities, interactive artist displays, health screenings and cultural food offerings. The event will take place during September 2019 at the intersection of Selby Avenue and Milton Street in St. Paul.

Sounds of Hope, Ltd. $10,000
Funding to support two weeks of concert performances in July 2019 in various venues in the Twin Cities area.

Theatre Unbound $10,000
Funding to present Ellen McLaughlin’s play Iphigenia and Other Daughters. Performances will take place at the Gremlin Theatre in February and March 2019.

Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center $10,000
Funding to produce “The Grace of Colorful Lane”, a full-length dance performance that demonstrate the unique characteristics of the culture of southern China. The show will be held at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul during February 2019.

Young Artists Initiative $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Winter Theatre Experience, an eight-week audition-based theatre program which will engage 35 youth in rehearsing and fully staging eight public performances. Performances will take place at The Wellstone Center Theater in Saint Paul during March 2019.

Suburban Hennepin County

4 Community Theatre $10,000
Funding for a February 2019 production of six performances of The Glass Menagerie and a July 2019 production of six performances of the musical The Addams Family to be staged at Orono School auditoriums.

ArtStart $10,000
Funding for Arte de la Tierra (Art From the Land), a 5-day experiential art and nature project for 30 Latinx youth ages 6-12 working with four artists and two naturalists at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington during summer 2019.

Cross Community Players $10,000
Funding to produce seven performances of the musical Mary Poppins in July 2019 at Osseo Senior High School.

Ebenezer Society Foundation $8,552
Funding to support the Life Long Learning “Poetry for Life” program, an intergenerational poetry and storytelling workshop series for residents of Ebenezer Ridges and Martin Luther campuses and youth from area schools. Activities will take place in Burnsville and Bloomington from September 2018 to October 2019.

Reach for Resources $10,000
Funding for Art Abilities, a quarterly, six-session series of workshops that offers youth and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to explore a variety of art media. Workshops will be held at the Adler Graduate School at their new location in Minnetonka starting in November 2018 and finishing in mid-September 2019. The program will culminate in an art exhibition.

Washington County

Bakken Trio $10,000
Funding to create a series of free Listening Parties in collaboration with Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, featuring puppetry and live musical selections of From the Monkey Mountains, by Pavel Haas. Performances will take place at the Stillwater Public Library in Spring 2019.

East Metro Symphony Orchestra $10,000
Funding to support three major concerts, two full-orchestra Senior Living Community concerts and five small ensemble Senior Living Community concerts during the 2018-2019 season. Major concerts will be held in December in Woodbury; March 2019 in Lake Elmo; May 2019 in Stillwater; Senior Living Community concerts at Boutwell’s Landing in Oak Park Heights, Stonecrest in Woodbury, St. Therese in Woodbury, Sholom Home in St. Paul, and Oak Meadows in Oakdale.

Square Lake Film & Music Festival $10,000
Funding for the 2019 Square Lake Film & Music Festival, a daylong, outdoor celebration of Minnesota-made music and film held on a scenic 25-acre hobby farm near Stillwater. The festival will take place in August 2019.

StoryArk $10,000
Funding to support students in grades six through twelve write, perform, and produce episodes for the audio podcasts HUSH and Carnation and the webisode Shush while also working together to expand and engage their audience. Activities will take place in Stillwater from October 2018 – January 2019.

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