St. Paul has approved $1.3 million for arts and cultural groups.

The latest round of the Cultural STAR grants, which got the City Council's OK this week, will go to 66 nonprofit organizations. Long funded by a half-cent sales tax, the grants range from $5,000 to $35,000 and and will boost events, projects and concerts.

Among the grantees:

  • $15,000 to Springboard for the Arts and Brownbody for Springboard on Ice, a series of artist-led performances on a pop-up outdoor ice rink on University Avenue
  • $12,500 to the Bach Society of Minnesota for outdoor mini concerts from solo musicians in neighborhoods across the city
  • $20,000 to Indigenous Roots to create a series of murals on the side of the building at 781 Hope St. and the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center

Also nabbing grants are the Transforming Generations Pride BBQ Festival, the Lowertown Sounds music series and the Minnesota Qeej and Hmong Arts Festival, all in downtown St. Paul, a focus for the grant program.

With organizations requesting some $3 million, this round of funding was "a little more competitive," said Bethany Gladhill, vice chair of the Cultural STAR board, partly because past years have divided grants between two rounds of funding.

Arts organizations are still struggling following COVID-19 shutdowns, said Gladhill, business director for FilmNorth, as people's habits have changed.

She encouraged Twin Cities residents to "go out and see things."

So many of the events funded by the grant program are free, she noted. They're diverse in terms of geography, genre and people. "There's going to be something no matter where you are."