The Next Step Fund grant is designed to help artists complete a project focused on their individual artistic and/or professional development goals within an artistic discipline. Projects should outline strategies that will help the artist overcome barriers to success, sustain the continued success of their artistic career, and/or help them leverage an opportunity.
The Next Step Fund is made possible with support from the McKnight Foundation and provides project grants up to $5,000 to artists in any arts discipline. Applicants may be at any stage in their career, but must be able to provide work samples of their own artwork. Individual artists must have a primary residential address in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington county.
The deadline for Next Step Fund applications is January 9, 2023.
New for all Next Step Fund applicants:
- In addition to the filling out the application form, all applicants will provide work samples via the grant interface. Refer to the guidelines for instructions.
- All applicants will use Submittable, the grant interface for Next Step Fund applications.
Before You Apply
Step One: Next Step Fund Grant Webinar
The Next Step Fund grant information webinar is designed to help individuals prepare their Next Step Fund grant application. The webinar covers funding, eligibility, program scope, and the details of applying for a Next Step Fund grant at MRAC. Participants will become familiar with the program and online application and will leave with clear expectations of the next steps to apply for MRAC funding.
The recorded webinar can be viewed on the MRAC YouTube channel and on the Next Step Fund webpage, where you can access the webinar slides.
Step Two: Next Step Fund Guidelines and Documents
The Next Step Fund guidelines and documents will help you to put together an application. The documents are provided in several formats, and they are available in English and Spanish.
Find all of these documents, along with sample applications and application templates, and on the Next Step Fund webpage.
Step Three: Virtual Question & Answer Sessions
Do you have questions after reviewing the guidelines and/or viewing the webinar? Join this informal drop-in Zoom sessions to answer brief questions in a large group setting. Please note, this is not a grant information webinar. We recommend viewing the webinar and/or reading the guidelines in advance of attending a Virtual Q & A Session, as many frequently asked questions can be found there. Pre-registration for the Virtual Q & A Session is required.
Q&A Session #1
- Monday, November 21: 2 – 3 PM
- Register for the November 21 Q&A Session
Q&A Session #2
- Thursday, December 1: 12 – 1 PM
- Register for the December 1 Q&A Session
If you would like to request a meeting with a Program Director to discuss eligibility and program intent and project idea development, or to receive other help with your application, fill out the Next Step Fund application assistance meeting request form.
These guidelines and other materials are translated in Spanish and available on the Arts Impact for
Additionally, the online grant portal allows for Google Translate to access the application in a variety of languages.
Individuals are encouraged to apply in their preferred language. With advance notice, MRAC can contract an interpreter and/or translator to assist during the application process.
On each grant webpage there is a link to the guidelines in a text format that is friendly to screen readers and text resizing.
Applicants with disabilities wishing to use other means to apply can work with MRAC staff to adapt our typical processes to ensure you have equal opportunity to submit an application. Solutions we have previously implemented include filling out an adapted form in Microsoft Word, and providing verbal responses that MRAC will share via audio recording or transcription.
Contact us as early as possible to begin a conversation about how to make sure you have an equal opportunity to apply.
For questions and assistance related to eligibility and/or