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Grants to Minnesota Nonprofits, Agencies, and Individuals for Projects That Support Participatory Artistic Experiences


Geographic Focus

USA: Minnesota

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Arts Learning Grant Program

Minnesota State Arts Board

Agency: State

GrantWatch ID #166720

Grant Description

Grants to Minnesota nonprofit organizations, public entities, government agencies, and individuals for projects that promote participatory artistic experiences in a range of genres and forms. Funding is intended for 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 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.

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants 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
• An unincorporated group that has a written agreement with a Minnesota 501(c)(3) tax-exempt or governmental unit fiscal sponsor
• 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

Eligible individual applicants must:
• Be professional artists applying as an individual
• Be United States citizens 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

See Eligibility Requirements in Supporting Documents for detailed information about Eligible/Ineligible Applicants and Allowable/Unallowable Costs.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Grant Program Information Session:
- Operating Support Webinar: Thursday, December 19, 2019, 3:00 PM
- Arts Learning Grant Program Webinar: Thursday, January 9, 2020, 3:00 PM

Webinars are free of charge, but advance registration is strongly encouraged. Each session is offered as a conference call with an option to view a PowerPoint presentation online and to listen to audio by telephone. Recorded webinars are available on the grant site for applicants who miss the webinar sessions.

For more information:

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline: Friday, February 7, 2020 before 4:30 PM, submitted and accepted
Board Approvals: July 2020
Project Period: September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021

Application Review and Award Notification Calendar:

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.

Applicants who are awarded a grant in one of the Arts Board programs may not receive additional funding in another grant program for the same project.

Matching: Applicants may request up to 90 percent of project costs; a 10 percent match is required.

Applicants are advised to plan ahead and begin applications well in advance of the deadline. The Arts Board receives many calls and e-mails on the last few days before, and especially on the day of, a deadline. It makes every effort to respond to all inquiries, in the order they are received but, depending on the volume, may not be able to do so.

How to Register for and Use the Online Application System: See Supporting Documents.

Summary of Previously Awarded Grants:

Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants range from $5,000 - $100,000.

Term of Contract:

This program funds activities that take place between September 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021.
All funded activities must take place within the project period dates.

Contact Information:

Application Portal:

For questions about the content of the application form or narrative:
- Natalie Kennedy-Schuck, Program Officer
- (651) 215-1617

For questions about the technical aspects of the application form, or electronic submission:
- Tom Miller, project manager
- (651) 215-1611

Minnesota State Arts Board
Park Square Court, Suite 200
400 Sibley Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101-1928
(651) 539-2650
(800) 866-2787
MN Relay 711

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