Recent Next Step Fund Grant Awards

FY 2018 Next Step Fund Grant Awards

On June 26, 2018 the MRAC board awarded a total of $179,200 to 36 individual artists in the FY 2018 Next Step Fund grant program. The Next Step Fund program, funded by the McKnight Foundation, is designed to help artists in the 7-county metropolitan region complete a project that will help them rise to the next level in their careers regardless of whether they are emerging artists or artists well established in their disciplines. Finalists were asked to submit work samples as background information and support for their Next Step project. Artists can work in any discipline and be at any stage of their artistic career, but must define a project that will help them advance to the next step in their artistic goals.

This year’s Next Step Fund was a record year for applicants, with 505 applications received and 69 second-round finalists named. Twenty artists and arts administrators served as the panelists for this year’s grant review process.

Teresa Audet $5,000.00
Crafts – wood
Funding for a six-week studio fellowship at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine.

Ezra Bartsch $5,000.00
Theater – puppetry
Funding to purchase a 3D printer.

Denzel Belin $5,000.00
Theater – general
Funding to support an intensive study of sketch comedy and improv in the United States through travel, networking, and training.

Julie Benda $5,000.00
Visual Arts – sculpture
Funding to purchase appropriate equipment to advance production of large scale, hand hewn, carved, and painted sculptural wood engravings.

Timi Bliss $5,000.00
Multidisciplinary
Funding to attend festivals and conferences in support of efforts to reach new communities and markets for current and future children’s book projects.

Mary Ellen Childs $5,000.00
Music – new/experimental/electronic
Funding to participate in an expedition to study cold climate and environmental change in the Arctic Circle that will result in a new musical composition.

Melissa D. Clark $4,540.00
Dance – ethnic/jazz/folk-inspired
Funding to support an evening-length dance production.

Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra aka Lady Xok $5,000.00
Music – new/experimental/electronic
Funding for first Lady Xok music album.

Cathy Durso $5,000.00
Visual Arts – general
Funding to purchase tools and take workshops on collecting and creating natural art materials.

Marjorie Fedyszyn $5,000.00
Visual Arts – sculpture
Funding to study with a master papermaker and learn the techniques of over-beaten abaca paper sculpture as well as prepare personal studio for paper-making.

Ritika Ganguly $5,000.00
Music – ethnic/folk-inspired
Funding for travel to India for purposes of artistic research and for the creation of new work in Bengali folk music.

Rafael Gonzalez aka Tufawon $5,000.00
Music – general
Funding for headlining hip hop tour in Europe.

Azhae’la Hanson $5,000.00
Photography
Funding to purchase a portrait photography kit, establish an independent business as a young African American entrepreneur, and increase community outreach and impact.

Christopher Harrison $5,000.00
Visual Arts – painting
Funding to support metal casting workshops to create new sculpture and travel to Senegal, Africa to research and network for future exhibition opportunities.

Greg Herriges $5,000.00
Music – ethnic/folk-inspired
Funding for Alexander Technique Training and instrument modification.

Markus Hoeckner $5,000.00
Media Arts – film
Funding to create a narrative short film.

Alia Jeraj $5,000.00
Interdisciplinary
Funding to create first solo performance piece that explores themes of migration, diaspora, and mixed race identities.

Tia Keobounpheng $5,000.00
Crafts – metal
Funding to produce 8-10 new metal sculptures for first solo-exhibition outside Minneapolis and Duluth.

Michael Lee $5,000.00
Literature – poetry
Funding to attend and participate in three literary workshops/conferences.

Erinn Liebhard $5,000.00
Dance – ethnic/jazz/folk-inspired
Funding to attend the Montreal Swing Dance Riot conference and to use embodied research to develop a new dance production.

Rita Mustaphi $5,000.00
Dance – ethnic/jazz/folk-inspired
Funding for travel to India to research and develop future project, Ganga to Mississippi.

Sachiko “La Chayí” Nishiuchi $5,000.00
Dance – ethnic/jazz/folk-inspired
Funding for mentorship and Tablao performance opportunities in New York City.

Nora Montañez Patterson $4,660.00
Theater – general
Funding to travel to Peru for research and one-on-one Cajon lessons as the foundation for a one-woman-show.

Ann Prim $5,000.00
Media Arts – video
Funding to purchase a 4K mirrorless camera, lenses, and a 4K monitor/recorder.

Akiem Scott aka DJ Kool Akiem $5,000.00
Theater – general
Funding to attend a theater technology conference, work with an established sound designer through a self-designed mentorship, and attend stage plays to better understand the role of sound design in American theater.

Erin Smith $5,000.00
Crafts – clay
Funding to improve air filtration and ventilation in ceramic studio.

Wilhelmina Smith $5,000.00
Music – solo/recital
Funding to support first solo recording.

Jovan C. Speller $5,000.00
Visual Arts – general
Funding for a new multidisciplinary body of work titled Where I’m Meant to Be.

Emily Strasser $5,000.00
Literature – nonfiction
Funding for conference attendance, writing studio rental, travel and related expenses to support revision of first book and to build a professional network.

Andrew Thoreen (and and end) $5,000.00
Music – new/experimental/electronic
Funding to purchase of a professional quality audio interface and microphones to create a functional recording space to produce and record new work.

Julie Thoreen $5,000.00
Music – new/experimental/electronic
Funding for a 24-week class in sound design and for recording first solo EP.

Ariel Tilson $5,000.00
Media Arts – video
Funding to purchase a laptop and editing software and to compensate an editing mentor.

Domonique Venzant $5,000.00
Crafts – clay
Funding to make improvements and renovations to a garage to create a four season ceramics studio.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay $5,000.00
Multidisciplinary
Funding for travel to research and conduct interviews for a new body of work, In the Camps: A Refugee Musical.

Chamindika Wanduragala $5,000.00
Media Arts – film
Funding to purchase a 27″ iMac with extra memory and storage to do post production work on stop motion animated films.

Dyani White Hawk Polk $5,000.00
Visual Arts – painting
Funding for first solo museum exhibition.

FY 2017 Next Step Fund Grant Awards

On June 27, 2017 MRAC awarded a total of $173,214 to 35 individual artists in the FY 2017 Next Step Fund grant program. The Next Step Fund program, funded by The McKnight Foundation, is designed to help artists in the 7-county metropolitan region complete a project that will help them rise to the next level in their careers regardless of whether they are emerging artists or artists well established in their disciplines. Finalists were asked to submit work samples as background information and support for their Next Step project. Artists could work in any discipline but must have a community connection and demonstrated achievement in their artistic field.

Mayumi Amada $5,000.00
Visual Arts – Sculpture
Funding to create first public art installation.

E.G. Bailey $5,000.00
Media Arts – Film
Funding to support travel to Lagos, Nigeria to work on the artist’s first African film.

Amber Bjork $5,000.00
Theater
Funding to purchase portable theatrical lighting equipment.

Elizabeth Blair $5,000.00
Photography
Funding to create and equip a basement studio.

Shannon Brunette $5,000.00
Visual Arts
Funding for the development and production of the artist’s first solo exhibition entitled, Our Bodies.

Bob Burns $4,315.00
Music – Popular
Funding to upgrade recording studio computer and operating system

Sha Cage $4,800.00
Theater
Funding for career training and a director’s retreat.

Santanu Chatterjee $5,000.00
Media Arts – Film
Funding to purchase a new cinema camera Kinefinity TERRA.

Stephanie Claussen $5,000.00
Music
Funding to attend the Edinburgh International Harp Festival and prepare a harp concert in response.

Paul Coate $5,000.00
Opera/Musical Theater
Funding for first professionally recorded album.

Nancy Cook $4,700.00
Literature
Funding to engage a writing coach and travel.

Emily Davis $5,000.00
Music – Jazz
Funding for the artist’s first professionally recorded album.

Casey Deming $5,000.00
Interdisciplinary
Funding for the production of five artist publications.

Seth Eberle $5,000.00
Theater – Puppetry
Funding for formal marionette construction and performance mentorship with marionette artist Kurt Hunter.

Rolf Erdahl $4,399.00
Music – Chamber
Funding to purchase a doublebass travel trunk.

Mychal Fisher $5,000.00
Music – New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding to purchase an analog synthesizer, wireless microphone headset, and road cases to enhance live performance and begin touring.

Lindsy Halleckson $5,000.00
Visual Arts – Painting
Funding to participate in an expedition to study atmosphere, weather, and environmental change in the Arctic Circle

Jennifer Klukken $5,000.00
Music
Funding to study marimba in France.

Emily Koehler $5,000.00
Visual Arts
Funding to purchase a new printmaking press.

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs $5,000.00
Literature – Poetry
Funding to support a second book’s national promotion

Thomas LaBlanc $5,000.00
Interdisciplinary
Funding to record a new album of original poetry with music.

Joua Lee $5,000.00
Media Arts – Film
Funding for artistic and professional development, including training workshops, networking events, personal board of directors, and a peer mentoring group.

Mary Jane Mansfield $5,000.00
Visual Arts
Funding to professionalize artistic practice with marketing materials, professional documentation and the opportunity to bring work to a new community.

Megan Mayer $5,000.00
Dance – Modern
Funding to revise, rehearse and complete an evening-length dancework prior to Lumberyard’s artist technical residency opportunity in 2018 in Catskill, New York.

Brighton McCormick $5,000.00
Visual Arts – Sculpture
Funding to build and outfit a mobile “tiny studio” in order to make site specific work, create large outdoor sculpture, and teach art workshops in varying communities and locations

Crystal Myslajek $5,000.00
Music – New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding for pianist’s first solo composition and recording project.

Jerri Neddermeyer $5,000.00
Crafts – Clay
Funding to purchase ceramic studio equipment to create an efficient work process that maximizes the artist’s limited human resources (energy and time) due to physical disability.

Loren Niemi $5,000.00
Theater – Storytelling
Funding for the creation of a website and video documentation to support marketing efforts.

Allalaghatta Pavan $5,000.00
Music – Ethnic/Folk-inspired
Funding to create a novel Tabla Ensemble in MN to present the art of poetic Tabla drumming.

Ashwini Ramaswamy $5,000.00
Dance
Funding to travel to India to receive intensive one-on-one classes with Alarmél Valli, one of the foremost living exponents of the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam in the world.

Marco Real-d’Arbelles $5,000.00
Opera/Musical Theater
Funding to attend an opera conducting workshop.

Adriana Rimpel $5,000.00
Music – New/Experimental/Electronic
Funding to record a full length solo album and music video.

Marciano Silva dos Santos $5,000.00
Dance
Funding for travel to Brazil to develop an experiment in creating new music for dance, working with composer Divan Gattamorta, four Brazilian musicians, and students from the University of Campinas-Sao Paulo.

Caitlin Skaalrud $5,000.00
Visual Arts
Funding to purchase professional equipment for a home illustration studio and re-launch the artist’s website with a finished full-length color web-comic.

Oanh Vu $5,000.00
Media Arts – Video
Funding to create a 15 minute long film that documents the impact of the artist’s family’s forced immigration to the United States using live action and stop motion animation techniques.