Above: A $100,000 NEA grant will support neighborhood radio station WEQY and other cultural programs on St. Paul's East Side. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune)
Minnesota arts groups have nabbed $4.4 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The NEA announced Wednesday $82 million in awards to theaters, writers, music groups and other arts organizations. In a press release announcing the 1,195 grants -- its second round of funding for the fiscal year -- the endowment emphasized its reach: The grants "support arts activities in all 50 states," in urban centers and rural towns.
Minnesota got 30 grants for a projects across the state. Arts Midwest, a Minneapolis-based regional organization that often partners with the NEA, nabbed the two biggest awards: $1.4 million for its work across the region and $1.2 million for its Shakespeare in American Communities program.
But many of the grants are small: Bemidji State University received $10,000 to put on a writers conference. The Jungle Theatre got $15,000 to stage two plays written by women. Theatro del Pueblo in St. Paul got $10,000 for a series of live, bilingual radio theater productions.
The Minnesota State Arts board gets money from the NEA, as well, helping fund dozens of grants to artists.
Here is the list of Minnesota winners:
Bemidji State University: $10,000
To support the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference. The conference, which takes place in the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University, will feature intensive five-day workshops in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and multi-genre writing; a publishing panel; and daily craft talks. Evening literary readings will feature faculty members and will be free and open to the public.
Arts Midwest: $1,439,600
To support agency arts programs, services, and activities associated with carrying out your NEAapproved Regional strategic plan.
Arts Midwest: $1,235,000
To support the Shakespeare in American Communities program.
To support research on equity, inclusion, and wealth-building through artist spaces, a Knowledge Building project. Artspace and the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs will perform research on affordable housing for artists, and how benefits accrue for their residents and surrounding communities. Research themes include demographic inclusion, financial benefits to artist tenants, and best practices for achieving equitable neighborhood outcomes. The research responds to growing interest in artist housing among developers, many of whom lack information about practices that support equitable outcomes for artists and broader communities. Findings will be shared through relevant publications, at Artspace's annual conference, and at other gatherings of partners interested in the intersection of equity, the arts, and community development.
To support a national tour of choral concerts with related educational activities. The touring program will combine traditional and contemporary choral works to reflect on the majesty and fragility of nature. Performances will take place in cities across the country. Educational activities may include master classes and workshops in schools.
Jungle Theatre: $15,000
To support the production of "The Nether" by Jennifer Haley and "Miss Bennet" by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. Haley's sci-fi crime drama depicts a future network of Internet virtual reality realms offering total freedom and complete sensory immersion. Gunderson and Melcon continue the story of Jane Austen's classic "Pride and Prejudice," in which Mary Bennet tires of her role as dutiful middle sister. During the family Christmas gathering an unexpected guest sparks her hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and love. The theater will create equitable production opportunities for female playwrights and advance efforts to broaden and diversify its audiences through programmatic partnerships and community engagement in topical discussions surrounding the plays' themes.
The Loft Literary Center: $45,000
To support in-house and online classes, workshops, conferences, mentorships, readings, spoken-word performances, and author dialogues. Programming is designed for both casual participants and writers with literary career goals, encouraging writing and reading as life-enhancing practices. The Loft also offers daily, curated online content that includes writing exercises, career and craft advice, trends, reviews, and a podcast. Additionally, the Loft partners with libraries across the Twin Cities area to offer free 90-minute writing sessions.
Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts: $35,000
To support a planning grant for the development of "Buddha: The Splendor of Emptiness," and an accompanying catalogue. The exhibition will feature approximately 100 art works from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, and Tibet, demonstrating the central role of art in Buddhist worship and rituals. Through the display and interpretation of works of art from cultures across Asia, the exhibition and programs will elucidate five Buddhist concepts that underlie many modern practices of mindfulness and compassion such as karma and samsara; prajna or transcendent wisdom; enlightenment and nirvana; the bodhisattva ideal and the Buddhist cosmos; and sunyata or emptiness. Using interpretive strategies, including text panels and object labels? graphics, maps, and diagrams? audio recordings? and video footage, the exhibition will focus on Buddha's role as a teacher, highlighting his emphasis on moderation and compassion as means to inner peace, and the transmission of Buddha's teachings through art.
Minnesota Shubert Center for Dance and Music: $15,000
To support Lifting the Minnesota Dance Community to New Heights at The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. The project is an engagement and performance platform that serves to expand local dance audiences and strengthen the state's dance community. As many as 20 Twin Cities-based dance companies will be presented, utilizing an artist-centered approach by employing a unique box office structure and support platform that mitigates prohibitive cost barriers. The center will create educational and community outreach opportunities including a Meet-the-Artists post-show discussion.
Pillsbury House Theatre: $40,000
To support the Chicago Avenue Project at Pillsbury House Theatre. The arts education and mentorship program will provide students with free classes in acting, theater arts, and playwriting. Youth will be involved in two fully produced showcase productions of original work, and a writing retreat with support and mentoring by professional artists. In addition, participants may attend theater productions at other Twin Cities theaters and take master classes with visiting artists.
Public Radio International: $30,000
To support the production and distribution of "The World's Global Hit." This daily feature on Public Radio International's news and information program offers American audiences insight into global events, culture, and history through the medium of music. Host Marco Werman features international music from a variety of genres such as opera, throat singing, classical, folk, jazz, and hip-hop. Recently produced programs showcased the Haitian music collective Lakou Mizik, an Ethiopian musical group's work with folk music from Okinawa, and links between Japanese musical culture and jazz in New Orleans.
Public Radio International: $60,000
To support the public radio program "Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen." - This weekly one-hour series focuses on contemporary arts and culture, ranging from music, movies, and books to theater, dance, and visual arts to video games and digital art forms. Recent episodes have included interviews with artists such as actress Lily Tomlin, musician Alice Cooper, actor Nick Offerman, and author Jennifer Finney Boylan. In regular features such as an "Extra Credit" listener challenge, guest artists invite listeners to submit creative projects to the program, such as an original poem, story, sculpture, or song, and then select favorite creative works from the audience to showcase on-air.
Soo Visual Arts Center: $10,000
To support the exhibition series "Communication Breakdown." Featured multidisciplinary artists will include Christine Rebhuhn, Liza Sylvestre, and Megan Vossler. Rebhuhn will create sculptural objects that explore word play. Sylvestre will explore her personal struggle with what it means to live in a hearing world with a cochlear implant through a multimedia installation and performance. Vossler will collaborate with a series of visual artists and poets to create a drawn and spoken narrative work.
Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater: $15,000
To support The Common Good, a community-inclusive program that engages underserved communities in the Shenandoah Valley. During an intensive residency, the company will present its signature Arts & Education and Arts & Healthcare programs throughout the northern Shenandoah Valley. The project will culminate in performances of Stuart Pimsler's newest work, "Matinee," in the Glaize Studio Theatre. The company's signature "Talk Piece," an audience-performer conversation, will follow each performance. Other residency activities may include workshops for caregivers, senior adults, college students, and atrisk K-12 students.
Ten Thousand Things: $35,000
To support a production of Euripides' "Electra." The project will include a tour of free performances at prisons, homeless shelters, veterans groups, and rural communities in northern Minnesota, in addition to paid performances for the general public. Directed by Rebecca Novick, the story of Electra will allow audiences to explore how the forces of betrayal and vengeance echo across generations, running through their own lives, as well as our troubled world. The production will feature a racially diverse cast providing opportunities for regional actors to play atypical roles and for diverse audiences to see themselves reflected on stage in new ways.
Theatre Latte-Da: $10,000
To support the Next Festival, a program to develop and present new work for the American musical theater. The program will provide teams of composers, lyricists, and book writers the opportunity to develop their skills, showcase their work, and make professional connections within the musical theater industry. Teams will work with established directors, music directors, dramaturgs, actors, and musicians to further develop their work. At the end of a two-week workshop, each musical will receive public readings with time for audiences to provide feedback. Participant artists will be chosen through an open submission process.
Upstream Arts: $25,000
To support performing arts residencies in special education classrooms. During the school year, local professional actors, dancers, and musicians will lead interactive activities that teach the fundamentals of art forms while developing and strengthening the social and communication skills of students with disabilities. Teaching artists will provide flexibility and modification of activities according to the age, abilities, goals, and strengths of individual students. The participating teaching artists have extensive training and experience with the curriculum.
Walker Art Center: $45,000
To support the creation and presentation of new works. The Walker will commission as many as five new interdisciplinary contemporary performance works by American and international artists. Each commission will include creative production residencies, partnerships with local communities, and presentations of the work. Selected artists will include British theater company Forced Entertainment, American playwright Aaron Landsman, American jazz musician Jason Moran, and French-British multidisciplinary artist Laure Prouvost, as well as American choreographer Morgan Thorson in collaboration with the rock band Low.
St. Olaf College: $10,000
To support The Northfield Experience. Director Stephan Koplowitz will collaborate with students, faculty, and staff from St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges to create a series of site-specific performances at locations in Northfield, Minnesota, and surrounding communities. The works will be inspired by the history, architecture, and social concerns of Northfield and its residents. Art forms including dance, music, theater, and media arts will be featured.
Dayton's Bluff District Four Community Council: $100,000
To support WEQY's cultural planning for Lower East Side neighborhoods in St. Paul. Artist-led town hall meetings and small focus groups will allow residents to review current neighborhood plans, map creative assets in the neighborhoods, and reaffirm community development goals, leading to a cityadopted arts and cultural plan for the area. Organizational partners reflect the area's cultural diversity, including WEQY, Black Arts Movement, Indigenous Roots, and Artistas del Sol, along with the City of St. Paul. The Lower East Side neighborhoods of Dayton's Bluff, Railroad-Island, and Payne-Phalen have a long standing working family identity, today reflecting a broader racial, ethnic, and economic mix of people than the rest of the city.
Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library: $10,000
To support literary programming at regional libraries. The organization will offer the Prized Writers program, which presents writers in readings and conversations centered on common themes, and the Music Meets MN Lit program, which presents author readings and live musical performances of original compositions based on the authors' books. Additionally, the library will host events featuring Minnesotan authors. Prior to the author events, the libraries will organize in-depth community book discussions to explore the work that will be presented.
To support professional development services through a master class series and the 18th Midwest Filmmaker Conference. Dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers in the Upper Midwest region, IFP-Minnesota will organize a series of master classes focused on topics such as producing, directing, and programming for film festivals. In addition, the Midwest Filmmaker Conference will offer panel discussions, film screenings, and opportunities to meet industry professionals. Previously, the conference has included sessions with casting director Lynn Blumenthal, Director Justin Siemien ("Dear White People"), and co-producer Mark Steele ("Cutie and the Boxer").
In Progress: $10,000
To support Living Histories, a media arts education project for Native American youth. Program activities will include photography and video in-school residencies for students, teacher training, public exhibits of student work, and distribution of student work online. Participating students will benefit from digital arts instruction as well as learn indigenous history and culture, developing an understanding of viewing art work through the lens of their own cultural aesthetic.
Minnesota Public Radio: $30,000
To support a community engagement touring project by American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio. The Performance Today's Young Artist Outreach project will bring musicians into schools for live performances and educational engagement with students. Project activities will include live performances and educational lecture-demonstrations by several artists that have been featured previously on Performance Today. Participating schools will be located primarily in underserved communities of the five regions.
Schubert Club: $20,000
To support Schubert Club Mix, a music presenting and community engagement project. Project programming will include artists such as Brazilian-American musician Clarice Assad and her father, guitarist Sergio Assad, Scottish percussionist Colin Currie, comic-strip inspired music by composer Libby Larsen, and Baroque music performed by the ensemble Barokksolistene with violinist Bjarte Eike. Concerts will be presented in informal venues such as Aria, a warehouse performance space in Minneapolis, and TPC Street Space in St. Paul.
Springboard for the Arts: $75,000
To support Year of Play in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. A team of artist organizers will design and facilitate a "Year of Play" in Fergus Falls through a variety of participatory projects, both permanent and temporary, that celebrate the area's unique assets, promote wellness, facilitate community interaction, and connect to the role that mental health has played in the town's identity. Projects may include permanent playscapes designed in partnership with area neighborhoods, artist-led biking or walking events, traffic calming artwork, and pop up dance parties. The project is a partnership between Springboard for the Arts, the City of Fergus Falls, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, and numerous local arts and civic organizations. Fergus Falls is a town of approximately 13,200 people, roughly 200 miles from St. Paul.
Springboard for the Arts: $100,000
For a project in Fergus Falls, MN. To support Creative Placemaking Training and Workbook for Rural Practitioners, a Knowledge Building project. Springboard for the Arts will develop creative placemaking trainings and resources to support artists and community development practitioners working together in rural and metropolitan communities. Springboard will develop curricula tailored for artist and community development audiences, deliver a series of in-person trainings, establish peer practitioner working groups, and launch a freely accessible online workbook based on the curricula. One stream of training will be designed for practitioners working in rural communities. In partnership with the University of Minnesota Morris Center for Small Towns, these resources will be rolled out at the Rural Arts and Culture Summit. The project is expected to result in as many as 80 practitioners from an estimated 20-35 communities prepared to implement their own creative placemaking programs that engage hundreds of local artists and thousands of community members, and also train 75 artists to be more effective working crosssector in their communities.
Teatro del Pueblo, Inc: $10,000
To support the development and broadcast of Nuestro San Pablo, a series of live bilingual radio theater productions. The project is designed to combine the traditions of Mexican carpa style theater (similar to Vaudeville) with the regional influence of the popular Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion." Created in collaboration with community partners including the East Side Arts Council, the Dayton's Bluff Community Council, and Fire on the Bluff productions, the series will consist of 90-minute live drama shows and 15-minute dramatic episodes that will be broadcast through community radio stations and shared citywide through podcasts.
Minnesota State Arts Board: $775,300
To support Partnership Agreement activities associated with carrying out your NEA-approved State strategic plan.
Saint Paul Neighborhood Network: $15,000
To support training and fellowship programs. With a focus on individuals from low-income communities, the Doc U training program teaches story construction, interview techniques, and technical skills in all aspects of documentary filmmaking. As many as six Doc U graduates will be selected to participate in a fellowship program, designed to deepen their technical skills, increase their leadership ability, and learn how to network to advance their artistic careers. The programs will culminate in screenings of work produced during the project period.