Next Step Fund

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:

  1. 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.
  2. All applicants will use Submittable, the grant interface for Next Step Fund applications.

Submit Here


Application Resources



Panel Rating Guide

Sample Grants

Application Tools

Recorded Grant Information Webinar

MRAC offers a recorded Grant Information Webinar to learn about the grant program, available on this program page and on the MRAC YouTube account with captions. Automated translated captions into other languages are also available, and you may playback the webinar at a faster or slower speed.

Application Assistance

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

Q&A Session #2

Program Directors

Program directors are available to help with your application. To schedule a video or phone meeting with a program director, visit the main page for the grant program to fill out the application request meeting request form.

You may also call or email the program director Jovan Rebollar at 651-523-6381 or

Please do your best to read these guidelines thoroughly before reaching out with questions.

There are two types of meetings you may request:

  • Individual Eligibility/Project Ideas Check-in (before submitting your application)
  • Project Check-In (once you received a grant and want to discuss any project changes)

Please note: We will do some initial brainstorming/refining with you about ideas, and will address specific questions about your application for eligibility and completeness. We cannot review draft versions of applications. Our intention is to provide general guidance ahead of submission; final eligibility determinations depend on a variety of factors and are made only after an application is submitted.

Additional Online Resources

Visit the Welcome to MRAC page ( to learn about the MRAC grant application process, an overview of all our grant programs, and more resources related to seeking and receiving MRAC funding.

Language Translation

These guidelines are translated in Spanish and available on the Next Step Fund webpage.  MRAC’s website can also be translated into Spanish by clicking the language button in the top left corner.

With advance notice, MRAC can contract an interpreter and/or translator to assist during the application process. Individuals may apply in their preferred language.


MRAC requests that all applicants apply online unless a disability makes doing so a barrier.

MRAC is using Submittable for this submission process. The Submittable platform has been certified to meet the needs of people with blindness, low-vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these. Submittable follows Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (2.0) and meets Level AA Accessibility to ensure people using assistive technologies can easily navigate Submittable’s pages and forms.

If you are unable to use Submittable or would like to send us your submission in an alternative way, please reach out to us at least one week prior to the deadline for assistance.

MRAC works to ensure that grant guidelines, workshop presentations, and any other written materials are created with accessibility principles in mind. Additionally, we are happy to provide materials in Braille, Large Print, or other formats with advanced notice that varies according to format, from one week to on-demand, but even if the notice timeline has elapsed, we may still be able to accommodate the request.

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. Applicants with disabilities can submit an audio or video application using Submittable.

Contact us as early as possible to begin a conversation about how to make sure you have an equal opportunity to apply.


Monday, January 9, 2023 - 11:59 pm

Program directors

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