MRAC improves arts access for communities in the seven county metropolitan area through support to artists and organizations.


● Artists and arts organizations thrive.
● Arts engagement takes place in every community.
● The public actively values and celebrates the arts and artists.

Guiding Principles

● We take into account the needs and interests of constituents in our region when developing programs and services.
● We strive to maintain transparent decision-making processes and accessible public information.
● We meet our constituents where they’re at and recognize their unique needs.
● We act with integrity, ensuring that all constituents are treated in a fair, respectful and consistent manner.
● We’re committed to advancing inclusion and racial equity in all aspects of our work.
● We work with our community partners to promote and advocate for the arts.

Overall Organizational Strategy

MRAC will provide leadership, resources and tools that enable artists and arts organizations to thrive in a changing environment and address disparities in the 7 county metropolitan area through a robust menu of programs and services and community engagement activities.The entire FY20-21 Plan is available here for download: MRAC Biennial Plan FY20 and FY21

MRAC’s Service

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council serves nonprofit arts organizations, informal arts groups, community education, and non-arts nonprofit organizations with annual operating expenses under $400,000, and individual artists in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. This region includes urban, suburban, and rural communities. While the region comprises only 4% of the state’s geography, its population is approximately 50% of the state’s total. As one of the 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota, MRAC’s funding is derived primarily from appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund and Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. MRAC also receives a generous grant from The McKnight Foundation.

Please see the Grants page for an overview of MRAC grant programs and deadline dates.

FY 2019 Overview

In FY 2019, MRAC received 892 organizational/group applications and awarded 497 grants totaling $3,540,740.72. This total includes three small payments for Arts Achievement Awards, as well as a $202,885 grant to VSA Minnesota for their role in re-granting ADA Access Improvement Fund grants for metro arts organizations, which resulted in 16 grants.

In addition, MRAC received 434 applications from individual artists in the Next Step Fund program and awarded 36 grants totaling $177,138 with a grant from The McKnight Foundation.

MRAC also offered 40 grant workshops for 418 participants, 68 Arts Management Trainings for 760 attendees, trained 237 panelists who served on 34 grant review panels, and hosted 4 visual arts exhibitions for the community.


In 1977, the Minnesota legislature established a system of eleven regional arts councils to distribute state government appropriations to small arts organizations around the state. MRAC, which serves the 7-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, is the largest of the regional arts councils. Each regional arts council is an autonomous organization designated to assess arts needs, develop programs and services to meet those needs, and distribute funds to arts programs in its region. All of the regional arts councils began as programs of larger regional development commissions. MRAC was a program of the Metropolitan Council until 1989, when MRAC became an independent nonprofit organization.

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