Friday, November 21, 2014

New Minnesota State Arts Board Grant Deadlines Announced

Minnesota State Arts Board just announced several key changes to the application deadlines and program activity dates for fiscal year 2016 that artists and organizations will want to pay attention to.

These grants were made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

As usual, the Arts Board grant programs are available on the calendar page of the Arts Board Web site. They've asked everyone to please note the changes for the following programs:

Artist Initiative grants:
Performing and literary arts have the same deadline now, but for performing arts, this is one month EARLIER than last year. These are grants for individual artists up to $10,000 each for artistic development.

Arts Access:
The application deadline is now April 24, 2015, which is two months EARLIER than last year. These range from $5,000 to $100,000

Arts Learning:
The application deadline is February 13, 2015. This is two months EARLIER than last year. Arts Learning grants range from $5,000 to $150,000 for organizations working with artists to teach the community.

Cultural Community Partnership:
This application deadline is August 28, 2015. This is four weeks LATER than last year. These grants range from $1,000 to $8,000.

Folk and Traditional Arts:
The application deadline is June 26, 2015, which is six weeks LATER than last year. The Folk and Traditional Arts grants are $5,000 to $75,000.

I'd strongly suggest artists developing programs look at the guidelines now to get a sense of what each project requires, and visit the Minnesota State Arts Board offices to look at the previous grants that have been proposed. Both winning ones and those that were not approved. It really does give you a sense of what the judges are looking for.

But what do I think of the new schedule?

For Southeast Asian Minnesotan artists the deadlines are reasonably favorable. The two I'd take note of right away are the Arts Learning grant because it's coming up really fast, and Arts Access, which comes in due shortly after many of the Southeast Asian New Years.

As usual, these deadlines could get slightly tricky with several of the MRAC grants due in March and April, notably the Next Step and Arts Learning grants both on March 2nd, the Arts Activities grant due on April 6th. It may seem like a lot of lead time, but that time can often evaporate quickly if it slips off your radar.

Minnesota artists will definitely want to consider getting their application in to the Jerome Travel and Study Grant, which is due February 19th, this year for musicians, theater artists and visual artists.

One thing that may significantly complicate your schedule is the HIGHLY competitive Creative Capital grant which opens February 2-March 2nd for experimental, literary and performing arts projects. If you're in this discipline, you really need to try for it, because it will not be offered again in your discipline until 2019. OUCH. If you miss this deadline... well, words fail me. For prose writers, remember that the NEA Fellowships in Literature comes due around the beginning of March, so that's also something that could tie you up.

If you're a prose writer applying for grants, February could EASILY drive you crazy because you'll have to get in: An MRAC Next Step, NEA Fellowship in Literature Grant, and a Creative Capital Proposal. If you were really hustling, an MSAB Arts Learning grant and an MRAC Arts Learning grant are also things you might be applying for. If you also do theater writing, the Jerome Travel and Study Grant could also be added to your docket. Without proper pacing you'll look like:

Get a good cup of coffee.

The end of March is the typical deadline for the Loft Literary Center's Emerging Writers Grant, while their Mentor series is due at the end of April. This can definitely be a good opportunity for the right writers.

Also of note for 2015, the Arts Midwest Touring Fund deadline is April 17th, while the Joyce Award Letter of Inquiry is due in the first week of April, typically. Frankly, both their grants are somewhat difficult for Southeast Asian American artists to apply for because of both the timing and the proposal requirements. But if you're in a position to apply, pace yourself and study the guidelines closely. The Warhol Arts Writers Grant Program opens around this time with a late May deadline.

The national AWP conference is coming to Minneapolis in April, as well as the National Lao Writers Summit, so these events, in addition to the Southeast Asian New Years could easily distract many of you from getting your best grants written around that time. I'd recommend planning accordingly.

Good luck!

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