First Round Flexible Support Grants Awarded

Congratulations to the 73 groups and organizations who are recipients of the first round MRAC Flexible Support grant awards. On December 15, 2020, the MRAC board approved $1,060,856 in funding for the following organizations to receive grant awards in the first round of the Flexible Support program for FY21. Note that the county designations indicate where the organization is located; Minneapolis and Saint Paul are listed separately from their counties.

The Flexible Support grant provides up to $15,000 in funding to help groups create access to the arts and stay connected to audiences/community across the seven-county metro area. Funding can be used for organizational support or projects that bring the arts to the local communities.

Photo of STRONGmovement in rehearsal.

Anoka County

Rumriver Art Center

Funding to allow the organization to continue to offer virtual art classes and programs to the community and for general operating support.

Carver County

Drama Interaction

Funding for an arts learning project for children with special needs in the Twin Cities’ East African-American community throughout 2021.

Dakota County

Caponi Art Park

Funding to create directional and informational signs in English, Spanish, and Somali that will make the experience of visiting the park more welcoming and inclusive for visitors.

Eagan Art Festival

Funding for the 27th Eagan Art Festival, including paying staff and event expenses, and to increase organizational capacity to add a virtual event increasing accessibility to the community.

Eagan Parks and Recreation

Funding to expand accessible visual art outreach to children, families, and senior adults in the northwest neighborhoods of Eagan.

Sounds of Hope, Ltd.

Funding to create music videos with narrative segments to reach and engage Metro audiences, promote the organization, and provide examples of its work.


Funding for the rehearsal process in preparation for upcoming shows which were previously postponed due to COVID-19, and funding for the STRONG Intensive.


180 Degrees

Funding to provide three Teaching Artist residencies at a halfway house for men who have just left prison and a shelter for young women who have been sexually exploited.

20% Theatre Company

Funding for the organization’s final production, the world premiere of BRUJERIA FOR BEGINNERS by Keila Anali Saucedo.

826 MSP

Funding to support K-12 Twin Cities youth in writing through the free After-School Writing Lab program.

Alive & Kickin

Funding to support virtual music programming for older adults, ages 60-99+, helping them to overcome isolation that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and social distancing.

An Opera Theatre

Funding for the development of Spring virtual programming and to establish part-time contracted organizational positions.

Ananya Dance Theatre

Funding for 147 hours of weekly classes and 30 hours of Summer Intensive classes during 2021.

Art Shanty Projects

Funding for a multi-session online charrette with artists working in teams to envision new ways of building a temporary on-ice community amidst major changes in public gatherings.

Breanna’s Gift

Funding for a series of visual arts, dance, music, and performing arts classes in a video format taught by teaching artists.

Catalyst Arts

Funding for the NEW WAY FORWARD (NWF) Initiative which seeks to create pathways for leadership and capacity growth and to relaunch the website to stay afloat in this new reality.

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

Funding to support development of new arts education programming in jewelry and small sculpture and to support the organization’s ability to respond to underfunded partnership and community requests.

Dark Muse Performing Arts

Funding for the organization to host a board retreat and hire a BIPOC consultant to focus on capacity building, visioning sessions, strategic planning, and writing a business plan.

Friends of the Mill District

Funding for a community project resulting in a Zoom video of “Be That Neighbor Virtual Choir” created in partnership with JD Steele based on input from members about what it means to be a good neighbor.

Japan America Society of Minnesota

Funding to host the first virtual Shinnenkai (Japanese New Year Celebration Festival) in 2021, which will highlight multiple weeks of online Japanese performance arts to celebrate the new year.

Ka Joog

Funding to create a platform for Somali American youth to learn traditional Somali art forms and present their learning through public or remote presentations to ignite community conversations.

Kairos Alive!

Funding to launch new Kairos Alive! Dancing Heart™ Creativity Together™ 2-way interactive arts engagement webcast for underserved older adults to create connection, health, and intercultural enjoyment.

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

Funding to collect and preserve the plywood art murals created after the uprising sparked by the killing of George Floyd. The murals will be displayed in an exhibition in 2021.

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop

Funding to teach five remote creative writing workshops across four metro area prisons. Course offerings were designed in collaboration with student-led Writers Collectives at each facility.

Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop

Funding to support the continued development in puppetry for the group’s community through mentorship and staying connected through online (due to COVID-19) open studio sessions.

Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association

Funding for the 2021 Art-A-Whirl open studio tour, whether online, in-person, or a combination of both.

Purple Playground

Funding for Purple Playground Academy of Prince 2021 free summer music education program for teens, where Twin Cities youth will learn collaborative skills to write and record their own songs.

Rain Taxi Inc.

Funding to enhance outreach, accessibility, and artistic engagement for the organization’s digital events and services in 2021, including the Twin Cities Book Festival and the Twin Cities Literary Calendar.

Red Eye Collaboration

Funding to support up to 10 performance-based artists creating and presenting new work in the organization’s New Works 4 Weeks 2021 Festival.

Rosy Simas Danse

Funding to create a safe space for creation, healing, and networking for Native, Indigenous, Black, and People of Color working in the performing arts in Minnesota.

SAATH (formerly Bollywood Dance Scene)

Funding for new and continuing programming to adapt and thrive in the realities imposed by COVID-19, including online dance classes, acting and writing workshops, and wellness offerings.

She Rock She Rock

Funding to increase operational capacity by providing income support for year-round staff.

Soo Visual Arts Center

Funding for three exhibitions and online programming in 2021.

TaikoArts Midwest

Funding to cover rent for studio space where taiko artists rehearse and compose, preparing for safe performance conditions, and to house the delicate and expensive taiko drums.

Tasks Unlimited, Inc.

Funding to increase access to artistic activities and learning for adults with serious mental illness by providing 6-week artist residencies in Manga, spoken word poetry, and stop motion animation.

The Arts’ Nest

Funding for support of activities occurring at Phoenix Theater the first half of 2021, including small in-person events, recordings for lessons and entertainment, and outreach.

The Performance Collective

Funding to build, test, and implement new models of artist-led performance development and production, prioritizing equity and financial sustainability for artists and the public.

Theatre Coup d’Etat

Funding to produce 20 performances and reclaim the true stories of LGBTQIA2+ pirates and pirates of color that have been erased from history by their white cis-het male counterparts.

Twin Cities Iranian Culture Week

Funding for a capacity development, community outreach, and year-round programming to share Iranian art and culture with the broader Minnesota public.

Z Puppets Rosenschnoz

Funding to produce a virtual version of Say It! Sing It! Play It! in Cherokee for Twin Cities Native American Heritage Month Events in 2021.

St. Paul

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

Funding to support bringing licensed music therapists into Wilder Connect, which is a caregiver respite program supporting individuals with Parkinson’s disease and memory loss.


Funding for three artists to instruct live after-school arts enrichment classes virtually for youth from four underserved schools to inspire artistry and possibility, leading to future programs with the organization.

Ballet Co.Laboratory

Funding for Laboratory II, the organization’s annual new ballet works showcase. The production, made for a virtual audience, will feature the works of local, emerging BIPOC choreographers.

Border CrosSing

Funding for the organization to record, produce, and distribute an album featuring choral music by Black and Latinx composers.

CAAM Chinese Dance Theater

Funding to strengthen the skills of dancers, create new choreography, and explore new delivery of content during COVID-19 restrictions.


Funding to adapt gallery offerings and arts programming via online, public art, and small group programs and to provide professional development for staff through trainings, mentorships, and partnerships.

COLLIDE Theatrical

Funding to provide dance education for company members and incoming BIPOC apprentice dancers, the creation of a music video on the African American roots of jazz dance, and general operating support.


Funding for the organization’s Performance Choir in spring semester 2021 and support for the rental of a new office space.

East Side Freedom Library

Funding for the creation of an Artists Working Group to curate programming, engage communities, and catalyze the impact of arts and expression on an emerging world narrative.

End in Mind Project

Funding for an arts based digital tool-kit that will walk people through the emotionally rocky terrain of uncomfortable conversations around loss, grief, death, and dying.

Full Circle Theater Company

Funding for the area premiere of ATACAMA, by Augusto Federico Amador, one of the rising Latinx playwrights in America, in spring 2022, to serve the organization’s community and help recovery.

Grace Minnesota dba Don’t You Feel It Too?

Funding to hire members of the organization’s cohort of artists, healers, and activists in order to envision, develop, and execute 2021 programming and foster new leadership.

Hmong Cultural Center

Funding to bring back all of the organization’s arts programs that were lost in the pandemic.

In Progress

Funding for NEXUS, a digital arts program that provides mentorship, access, and presentation opportunities to self-taught artists that face barriers to professional development opportunities.

India Association of Minnesota

Funding for enhancing the live-streaming of Virtual IndiaFest 2021

Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health

Funding for two online video adaptions of timely stories, The Mental Health Musicals: Old Mother Hubbard (trauma from food insecurity) and Humpty Dumpty (crisis de-escalation) by Fidgety Fairy Tales.


Funding for planning and producing the Arab Film Fest and other film programming in 2021 amid pandemic uncertainties.

Nautilus Music-Theater

Funding for creators and performers to present work in the works-in-progress ROUGH CUTS series and one fully-staged production.

The Victoria Theater Arts Center

Funding to support a new Community Arts Coordinator, general operations, and a flexible spending fund for immediate arts needs.

Women’s Drum Center

Funding to increase equity through two goals: to develop an Inclusion Plan through cultural competence assessment and diversity training; to secure and relocate the Studio to an accessible site.

Wonderlust Productions

Funding to employ artists to respond to the complex questions facing communities right now through community engagement and creative artistic expression across a variety of non-live platforms.

Suburban Hennepin

Autism SIBS Universe

Funding to provide poetry mentorships for neurodivergent learners age 13-21 at South Education Center in Richfield. Students will write and publish books of poetry under the Unrestricted Interest imprint.

Children’s Castle Theater

Funding for nine months of the Artistic Director’s salary to ensure strong organizational operations that strengthen the organization’s ability to provide arts access during a time of uncertainty.

Strive Publishing

Funding for two work-for-hire editors to be paid as staff. Staff will serve as editors and writers who will head projects as the organization lead participates in the Finnovation Lab fellowship.

The Givens Foundation for African American Literature

Funding to support a seven week online writing seminar for incarcerated individuals in Minnesota.

Theatre Pro Rata

Funding to present Sarah Ruhl’s “Orlando” based on the novel by Virginia Woolf in March 2020.

Threads Dance Project

Funding for facility and rental costs for programming including community classes, outreach, and artistic endeavors.

Suburban Ramsey

10th Wave Chamber Music Collective

Funding to present a classical chamber music concert and interviews online featuring Black/African-American composers, and to commission Laone Thekiso for one work.


Funding to engage an Administrative/Operations manager that will support the Artistic Director, Business Manager, and programming for 30 weeks.

Lowertown Blues Festival

Funding to live-stream the virtual Live Blues Fest featuring 70 Minnesota blues artists performing 18 live shows.

Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center

Funding for celebrating Mother’s Day through Chinese traditional dances and songs in a performance show entitled “Mother’s Love Lights up the Road of Conquering the Pandemic.”



Funding to further train pre-professionals artistically, shore up the organization’s internal structure, and train interested pre-professionals to step into organizational roles including HR, PR, and evaluation

Washington County Jail

Funding for the Women’s Creative Writing program taking place in the Washington County Jail in January 2021 in Stillwater.


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