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Arts Learning Grant Program

Grants to Minnesota Nonprofits, Agencies, and
Individuals for Arts Education Programs

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Minnesota State Arts Board

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/16/18 4:30 PM


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Grants starting at $5,000 to Minnesota nonprofit organizations, government agencies, groups, and individuals to promote high-quality arts learning experiences. Applicants are advised to register in the online grants portal in advance of the deadline. This program supports projects that enable lifelong learners to acquire knowledge, understanding, and skills in the arts.

For the purpose of this program, arts learning happens when participants are engaged in creating, performing, and/or responding to art in a disciplined and intentional way with a teaching artist.

Arts learning is most effective as a sequential, in-depth process which may include imaginative thinking, problem-solving, goal setting, and teamwork. Quality arts learning experiences should lead to an increased understanding of the role that the arts play in daily life, improvements in communication skills, and a greater capacity for critical response.

This is a competitive project grant program. Applicants are encouraged to use project grants strategically to enhance or expand service to Minnesotans, rather than expecting continued funding for the same activities year after year.

Projects must provide participatory learning and engage learners with skilled teaching artists and high quality artistic experiences. The Arts Board supports continuing the learning cycle for all Minnesota residents. This program is designed to provide opportunities to share and celebrate the diverse cultures of Minnesotans and to deepen community connections through the love of learning.

Projects must be designed to incorporate and achieve at least one or more of the following:

-Create: Arts learners study works of art, acquire skills related to practicing the art form,
understand the context of the art form guided by teaching artist(s), and build appreciation for the technical and/or aesthetic qualities of the art form. Study should include the acquisition of skills relevant to practicing the art form.

-Perform: Lessons include an opportunity for arts learners to share their work either through presentations or explanations of their artwork.

-Respond: Arts learners are asked during the arts learning experience to describe, interpret, and evaluate their own artwork and that of others. Lessons include questions to guide arts learners in reflecting on the work.

Arts Learning funds may be used for purposes such as:
-New and/or expanded arts learning programming;
-Residencies in K-12 schools, summer intensives, and after-school programs;
-Activities that engage arts learners over an extended period of time to increase proficiency in and understanding of an arts discipline, genre, or form;
-Opportunities presented in community venues;
-One-time, multiple, or yearlong learning activities;
-New ways to integrate arts learning with learning in other subjects;
-Professional development opportunities that increase the knowledge and skills of artists, program providers, and others who work in arts learning, so long as this is not the primary activity of the project.

Arts Learning Program Outcomes:

The goal of the Arts Learning program is to ensure that all Minnesotans have opportunities to understand, develop, and experience the power of creative expression for themselves. Proposed projects must address at least one of the following program outcomes:
-Minnesotans develop skills and habits related to creativity and self-expression.
-Minnesotans develop skills in or expand their knowledge about an artistic discipline.
-Minnesotans’ arts learning experiences shape how they engage with the world around them.

Applicant Project Outcomes
Every project must have measurable outcomes. Grantees will be expected to evaluate their activities and be able to demonstrate measurable achievements related to outcomes.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 166720

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant Range:
-Minimum grant amount: $5,000
-Maximum grant amount: $150,000

A grantee may receive no more than 50 percent of its total operating expenses from the Arts Board. The 50 percent cap will be based on the applicant’s total operating expenses for fiscal year 2016, as demonstrated in its fiscal year 2016 financial statements. Arts Board support includes an Operating Support grant, Community Arts Education Support grant, one or more project grants, or a combination of operating and project support. This cap does not apply to individual artists.

An organization that did not exist, had no financial activity, or had operating expenses of less than $10,000 in fiscal year 2016 may only request the minimum grant amount.

An individual artist who requests a grant of $25,000 or more must apply with a nonprofit Minnesota tax-exempt fiscal sponsor or government unit fiscal sponsor.

Term of Contract:

This program funds activities that take place between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Highlights of Arts Learning eligibility policies:
-An individual or organization may be the official applicant on only one application in this program.
-An affiliate and host organization may not both apply for a grant from the same program.

An eligible organization must be one of the following:
-A section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization;
-A public entity such as a unit of state, local, or tribal government; or
-An unincorporated group that has a written agreement with a Minnesota 501(c)(3) tax-exempt or governmental unit fiscal sponsor.

AND must:
-Be located and operating within Minnesota;
-Employ at least one paid individual, at the time of application, in a contract or salaried position, to provide administrative and/or artistic oversight of the project.

An eligible individual applicant must:
-Be a professional artist applying as an individual;
-Be a United States citizen or have attained permanent resident status;
-Be at least 18 years of age;
-Have been a Minnesota resident for at least six months prior to the application date, and must continue to reside in Minnesota throughout the contract period.

An individual artist who requests a grant of $25,000 or more must apply with a nonprofit Minnesota tax-exempt fiscal sponsor or government unit fiscal sponsor. Grant funds are considered taxable income for individuals.

All applicants - an application will not be eligible if any of the following are true:
1. Artists are required to pay excessive entry or exhibition fees in order to exhibit or perform in the project or program for which funding is sought;
2. Funds are requested for payment of debts incurred before the grant activities begin;
3. Funds are requested to support activities that are essentially for the religious socialization of the participants or audience;
4. Funds are requested to support activities in primary or secondary level parochial schools;
5. Funds are requested for activities that attempt to influence any state or federal legislation or appropriation;
6. Funds are requested to pay for capital costs, such as improvements, construction, property, or endowment funds;
7. Funds are requested to pay for equipment costing $5,000 or more;
8. The complete application is not received by the Arts Board before 4:30 p.m. on the application deadline;
9. The applicant has any overdue reporting requirements as specified in a previous contract with the board;
10. The applicant is not in compliance with any active contract with the board;
11. The applicant does not make all events open to the general public;
12. The applicant does not establish admission charges for the events, although it would be feasible to do so;
13. Funds are requested to start, match, add to, or complete any type of capital campaign;
14. Funds are requested to support activities that will not take place within the geographic boundaries of Minnesota;
15. The project budget does not include a minimum cash match of 10 percent.

Additionally, applications from individuals that include any of the following items will be ineligible:
1. Activities that involve any organization at which the applicant is employed and/or from whom the applicant receives a W-2 or 1099 form;
2. Paying for tuition, fees, or work toward any degree;
3. Paying for translating another person’s literary work;
4. Developing curriculum plans, teaching materials, or teaching programs that are intended to be used in the applicant's regular course of employment;
5. Covering the costs of relocating the applicant’s legal address/residence outside the state of Minnesota;
6. Paying for the establishment of any type of arts, other nonprofit, or for-profit organization.

The following activities do not make an application ineligible, but neither Arts Learning funds nor the applicant cash match may be used for these purposes:
1. To support salaries or overhead of public or private schools, colleges, or universities;
2. To support academic credit producing activities or events which are primarily oriented to postsecondary students and the academic community;
3. For activities that take place outside of the project period;
4. For scholarly research;
5. To pay an artist or arts organization to provide essentially the same services that an ongoing teacher or arts specialist previously provided or would be expected to provide in a school setting;
6. To replace discontinued or nonexistent arts programs that should be fulfilling the state’s arts curriculum requirements in schools;
7. To purchase or commission a work of art;
8. For projects primarily designed for the development of teaching artists or staff of an organization;
9. For projects wherein the intended arts learners and the teaching artist(s) belong to the same organization as volunteers or in a contracted or salaried position;
10. For tuition for teachers to earn degrees, meet licensure requirements, or meet continuing education requirements to retain a teaching license;
11. For projects focused mainly on creating and managing online databases, tools, and/or non-participatory resources such as teacher guides or archives of exhibitions/programs. These kinds of activities might be components of a larger Arts Learning project that actively engages a teaching artist with arts learners, but cannot be the primary focus of a project;
12. For projects with the primary focus of planning, evaluating, documenting, or disseminating promising or proven arts learning programs and practices;
13. To support regular programming that currently is funded through the Arts Board's Operating Support or Community Arts Education Support grant programs;
14. To support project activities that are funded through another Arts Board grant program in the same fiscal year;
15. For projects wherein the activities are exclusively for curriculum development.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Minnesota State Arts Board is offering a one-hour Webinar to help applicants prepare to apply for the Arts Learning grant program. The session will focus on program basics and applicant questions.

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, January 18, 2018, 3:00 PM.

The Webinar is free of charge, but advance registration is strongly encouraged.

If you are not able to attend, but would like to view the PowerPoint used in the Webinar, it will be posted online.

More information may be found at the Information Sessions page:

Pre-Application Information:

The applicant may request up to 90 percent of the project costs; a 10 percent match is required.

First time applicants are encouraged to carefully review the Program Overview and Application Instructions and then call the program officer prior to beginning an application.

All applicants must be registered as users in the WebGrants system in order to apply to any Arts Board program. New users must register before they may begin an application. Register early. Registrants will receive a WebGrants user ID and password within one to two business days.

FY 2019 applications must be submitted and accepted before 4:30 PM on Friday, February 16, 2018.

-Application Deadline: February 16, 2018
-Board approval: July 2018
-Project Period: September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019

How to Register as a WebGrants User:

How to Use WebGrants:

For more information about the application timeline and the project period, see the calendar page.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register for the January 18 webinar:

To join a webinar session:
-Dial into the telephone portion to hear the audio.
-Call the conference host at (800) 920-7487.
-Enter the conference code: 5593 491 #
-When prompted, say your name.

You may also log into the Web portion to view the PowerPoint presentation:

If you have questions about the content of the application form or narrative, please contact:

Natalie Kennedy-Schuck, Program Officer
(651) 215-1617

If you have questions about the technical aspects of the application form, or questions about electronic submission, please contact:

Tom Miller, project manager
(651) 215-1611

All staff can be reached toll-free at (800) 866-2787.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota