Arts Learning Round 1 Grant Awards Announced

Group of artists sitting on stage with a screen behind them

On January 28, 2020 MRAC awarded $272,988 to 28 organizations/projects in the first round of its FY 2020 Arts Learning grant program. The Arts Learning projects chosen will provide high-quality, age-appropriate arts education for Minnesotans to develop knowledge, skills, and understanding through the arts for children, youth, and adults by engaging people in extended arts experiences and activities with clearly articulated learning objectives. The Arts Learning grant program is a direct result of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment. Geographic listings represent the primary county where the arts learning programming will take place; note that Minneapolis and Saint Paul are listed separately from the Suburban Hennepin and Suburban Ramsey counties.

We wish to acknowledge and thank our panelists who served as grant reviewers for this round of Arts Learning grants:

Amirah Ellison, Aryca Myers, Atlese Robinson, Bao Vue, Barry Kleider, Bill Venne, Chloe Rizzo, Christian Novak, Christopher Atkins, Dah Zar, Earl Ross, Frangena Johnson, G Vue, Halee Kirkwood, Jessika Akpaka, Jon Feulner, Judy Cooper Lyle, Ken Coy, Mike Alberti, Vince Leo

Photo credit: Nicole Thomas of the Emerging Curators Institute

Dakota County

OboeBass!                 $9,566.00
OboeBass!, Carrie Vecchione, oboe, and Rolf Erdahl, double bass, present a 7-part, monthly music learning series to 4 senior residences in the Twin Cities area. The programs are a mixture of lecture and performance on a variety of musical topics, designed to approximate the level of a college music appreciation course.


113                 $10,000.00
Funding for Studio113 Vocal Performance and Composition Residency at Folwell School Performing Arts Magnet in Minneapolis during February through May of 2020. 

The Arts’ Nest                      $10,000.00
Funding for a directing workshop for emerging directors with 10 meetings over five months, starting in September 2020 at the Phoenix Theater in Minneapolis.

Black Storytellers Alliance                        $10,000.00
Funding for a three-month course on learning The Art of Oral Storytelling from an African/African-American perspective at the Robert J. Jones UROC in near North Minneapolis in 2020 for students of all ages.

East Side Neighborhood Services            $10,000.00
Funding for Youth Out Loud’s Arts & Activism Film Project at East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis from February – August 2020.

Emerging Curators Institute                     $10,000.00
Funding for the Emerging Curators Institute’s Fellowship Learning Cohort in Minneapolis and St. Paul during February – November 2020.

Grace Minnesota dba Don’t You Feel It Too?                 $10,000.00
Funding for “SEED: Supporting Emerging Embodied Discoveries,” an intensive 7-month interdisciplinary learning experience using the public dance practice Don’t You Feel It Too? to realize embodied, mindful approaches to racial justice, solidarity-building, street action, and art-making.

Hopewell Music Cooperative North                    $10,000.00
Funding for the Beginner’s Band program at Stonebridge World School in Minneapolis during the 2020 calendar year.

Les Jolies Petites School of Dance                        $10,000.00
Funding for an 8-week summer workshops for students from July – August 2020 in Minneapolis.

Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop               $10,000.00
Funding for four workshops (a few days long to week-long) and 16 Open Studio Learning Sessions in Minneapolis from February – December 2020.

SAATH (formerly Bollywood Dance Scene)                   $10,000.00
Funding for 39 weekly South Asian fusion dance classes and 9 monthly acting/improv workshops in Minneapolis from February to October of 2020. 

She Rock She Rock              $10,000.00
Funding for Girls Rock n Roll Retreat, a music summer camp for girls, trans and nonbinary youth during July and August 2020 in Minneapolis & St. Paul.

Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum                $10,000.00
Funding for Somali Dance and Weaving classes in the Twin Cities during June 2020 to reach both Somali and non-Somali residents seeking to understand the art and culture of the Somali people in the diaspora across the globe.

zAmya Theater Project                  $10,000.00
Funding for Acting for Change Training Initiative from May – July 2020 at the Minneapolis Central Library. Acting for Change will train five current zAmya troupe members and 20 new participants using tools from the Theater of the Oppressed pedagogy.

Saint Paul

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation                $5,000.00
Funding for a visual arts residency for older adults with chronic conditions, including memory loss, from April – July 2020 in Saint Paul.

Border CrosSing                  $10,000.00
Funding for Heritage Choir, a community choir program, to be held in the West Side of St. Paul in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. 

Change Inc.               $8,800.00
Funding for theater artist Janelle Ranek to create an arts learning experience for young adults ages 18-24 who are primarily immigrants, refugees, and English Language Learners. Students will learn and analyze elements of theater including plot, theme, character, language, sound, genre, structure, and aesthetics. The project will culminate in a performance based on students’ lives and cultural experiences and will be presented at Neighborhood House and Hastings High School in March 2020. 

ComMUSICation                  $10,000.00
Funding for Hands on Music, a tuition-free youth percussion ensemble, at three elementary schools in St Paul during spring 2020.

Dangerous Productions                 $10,000.00
Funding for a weekly video arts program HOPE NEWS which teaches youth video production skills in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, from Jan 30 – Dec 31 2020. It will  feature original content created by youth, highlighting their artistic capabilities, and showcasing people in their community.

East Side Arts Council                    $10,000.00
Funding for art classes taught by professional artists for seniors and elders in the East Side neighborhoods of St. Paul. Art classes range from writing poetry, print-making, to shibori indigo fabric arts. Classes are free of charge, taught by bilingual and multicultural artists, and held exclusively at ADA accessible locations in St. Paul between March – November 2020. 

El Arco Iris                $10,000.00
Funding for an 8-week program offering 30-35 youth an opportunity to learn about the traditional Afro-Puerto Rican folkloric rhythms, songs and dance through art, dancing and music classes. Activities take place from April and May 2020 at the Dunning Recreation Center in St. Paul and will culminate with a family potluck and showcase.

Minnesota Jazz Education             $9,622.00
Funding for Experience Jazz, a 16-weeks music making lab engaging up to 30 middle and high school students. Sessions will take place from February to June 2020 at the High School for Recording Arts in Saint Paul and culminate in a performance.

Pan Asian Arts Alliance                 $10,000.00
Funding for A Place to Call Home, a series of 5-10 minute issue-based animated short films. This project will empower 20 Hmong youth between 14-17 years old, by using traditional and digital animation to tell personal stories and to voice their concerns in the Hmong Community. 

Shakespearean Youth Theatre                 $10,000.00
Funding for a 6-week intensive theatre program, from June 9th – July, 19th 2020 for students 13-19, culminating in a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Vandalia Tower. Students will gain skills in acting, movement, text analysis, and storytelling while creating community and developing confidence, critical thinking, and teamwork skills.

Young Artists Initiative                 $10,000.00
Funding for an 8-week, 5-day/week summer theater camp producing Freaky Friday, the Musical, with rehearsals on St. Paul’s East Side and performances on St. Paul’s West Side. Thirty youth will learn and develop skills in singing, acting, and choreography, along with teamwork and leadership, culminating in five public performances at the Wellstone Center Theater in August 2020.

Young Dance, Inc.                $10,000.00
Funding for All Abilities Dancing programming, for our classes, community partnerships and staff training, in St. Paul and Minneapolis, February – December 2020.

Washington County

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop                $10,000.00
Funding to provide four high-quality introductory creative writing classes in four Metropolitan Area prisons.

FamilyMeans                        $10,000.00
Funding for the FamilyMeans Collaborative Youth Theater Project to engage 30 3rd through 6th grade youth living in the Cimarron and Landfall mobile home communities to perform two musical theater performances, one in each community. The project will begin in at the end of January 2020, and conclude with the performances in May 2020.

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