A leading Twin Cities nonprofit that supports the arts with millions of dollars in grants annually is looking for a new executive director.

Jeff Prauer has stepped down as head of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), a post he has held since 2008.

Prauer, 65, said that after eight years, “I decided it was time for me to make a change, and MRAC is at a place in the biennial cycle where a change of leadership would be minimally disruptive.”

Looking ahead, Prauer said he’s “considering various possibilities.”

Prauer said his time leading the council was “significant because I started just before arts and cultural heritage funds were established as the result of the passage of the … Legacy Amendment.”

He said the amendment more than tripled the amount of money MRAC has had to direct grants to small arts organizations in the region. In fiscal year 2014, the council received 814 applications and awarded 452 grants totaling nearly $3.2 million.

“Navigating all of this change, which included the creation of a new grant program, was the biggest challenge and accomplishment during my tenure,” Prauer said.

Before coming to MRAC, Jeff worked at COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts) for 19 years, including the last 14 as executive director. He also worked in symphony orchestra management and is a professional freelance musician in the Twin Cities.

Julie Sand is filling the post while the council moves toward having a permanent replacement on the job in July with the help of the Ballinger Leafblad executive search firm. Sand has served as managing director in the Twin Cities for the Playwrights’ Center, the Jungle Theater and TU Dance.

The MRAC serves nonprofit arts organizations, informal arts groups, community education, and non-arts nonprofit organizations with annual operating expenses under $400,000, as well as individual artists in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. Its funding is derived primarily from state appropriations and a grant from the McKnight Foundation.