Organization Awards

Listed below are the most recent awarded grants from each program. For past program recipients, please contact the office at


Community Arts Learning Grant Recipients

ARAC granted Arts Learning funding to the following organizations on March 15, 2018:

American Indian Community Housing Organization, Duluth, St. Louis, $4,940:
Support to fund a series of workshops for native youth focused on arts through the culinary application. Participants will learn about what makes a food Wild and/or Indigenous, why these foods are important, how seasons determine what foods are available locally; they will participate in preparation and taste-testing of ingredients in a Wild and Indigenous Foods Lab type of setting, and craft a recipe using wild-harvested plants and/or locally sourced fruits and vegetables.

City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Itasca, $5,000:
Support to fund the arts programming as a part of summer youth camps. The Arts and Rec summer program will engage youth in art creation while also emphasizing the role of the arts in community development. Through a combination of skills-based learning sessions and public art design and creation, teaching artists will work with youth ages 7 – 12 to develop their skills in a variety of visual arts mediums while also creating new works of public art to enhance the cultural landscape of the Grand Rapids area.

North Shore Music Association, Grand Marais, Cook, $5,000:
Support to fund teaching artists, Robert Jones and Matt Watroba, as they work with the students in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 at Great Expectations School in Grand Marais, MN. Their program “Music That Matters” is a project of the organization Common Chords, whose mission and vision are to be a resource to connect art with the community, with an emphasis on traditional styles of American music, storytelling, art, and singing.

Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community, Carlton, Carlton, $5,000:
Support to fund the Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community’s Jazz Learning Project, a multi-age student learning program that will lead to an understanding of music in relation to history and culture; developing skills in listening to, analyzing, describing and evaluating music and musical performances; exploring playing instruments in solo and ensemble settings; and provide an understanding of the relationships between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts.

Range Center Inc./Soho Arts, Hibbing, St. Louis, $5,000:
Support to fund the Clay and Fire project, a program proposed to increase the knowledge, skills, and confidence of artists in the use of clay and fire. Two pieces of art will be created and displayed. In addition, artists will participate in gallery walks and other events to demonstrate and teach community members to express themselves using clay and fire.


Art Project Grant Recipients

ARAC granted Art Project funding to the following organizations on March 15, 2018:

American Indian Community Housing Organization, Duluth, St. Louis, $3,350:
Support to fund Let’s See What You See, a juried cell phone photography exhibit. The premise of this exhibit is to host an event that is engaging to people from all corners of the community and that encourages them to think creatively about a given prompt. Artistically speaking, this exhibit focuses primarily on the participant’s ability to capture a concept or idea, regardless the technology used.

Citizens for Backus, International Falls, Koochiching, $5,000:
Support to produce the Borealis Bards, an inter-generational community theatre program, produce its third full-length musical performance as the first event of our 2018-2019 season. We will offer three showings of “Little Shop of Horrors” on the Backus stage in October 2018.

Duluth Superior Film Festival, Duluth, St. Louis, $5,000: 
Support to fund the 9th annual Duluth Superior Film Festival, a 5-day event which screens numerous independent films, produces music performances, and hosts parties in an extravaganza of film, music, and art. Confirmed 2018 titles include the regionally shot Cold November; Saving Brinton, created by Duluth based production company Northland Films; and Duluth resident Matt Dressel’s film Just Coffee.

Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork, Itasca, $3,000: 
Support to be used to rent costumes for the production of German playwright, Bertolt Brecht’s, 1941 black comedy The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Performances will be held June 21-24, 2018, at the Edge Center for the Arts.

Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe, Duluth, St. Louis, $5,000:
Support to the Run Smelt Run Puppet Parade, a non-motorized, site-specific, outdoor parade performance on May 12, 2019, in celebration of the annual smelt run on Lake Superior. This will be the eighth annual event. Workshops will be offered for 3 weeks prior to prepare the puppets, masks and costumes, and to recruit performers. Additional workshops will be held in local schools and other sites, and everyone is encouraged to make costumes at home and wear silver

North Shore Music Association, Grand Marais, Cook, $5,000:
Support to fund Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son Colin Gilmore as they present an all-ages concert at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais, MN, on July 14, 2018. The concert will consist of two sets of forty-five minutes, with a 15-20-minute intermission. Jimmie Dale Gilmore is the co-founder of the legendary band The Flatlanders, three-year Rolling Stone Magazine “Country Artist of the Year,” and forefather of the Alt-Country movement, and will be performing in concert with his son.

Northern Lights Music Festival, Aurora, St. Louis, $5,000: 
Support to be used to support the production of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in July 2018. The production, Northern Lights Music Festival’s 10th fully staged opera, will be performed in Aurora, Chisholm, and Ely.

The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, St. Louis, $3,580: 
Support to produce “Harmony,” a community symposium, which will bring together a diverse collaboration of six to eight performing artists from our region who already use their skills and creative expression to engage in innovative and inspiring ways with community concerns related to the environment, neighborhood, and community. This collaborative performance will take place in The College of St. Scholastica’s Mitchell Auditorium on April 15, 2018, and will be paired with discussion by community leaders from AICHO, Seeds of Success, the Imagine Duluth 2035 Vision Committee, and Health in All Policies (Zeitgeist and CHUM).


Rural and Community Art Project Grant Recipients

ARAC granted $40,000 in Rural and Community Art Project funding to the following organizations on January 18, 2018:

Aitkin Community Education, Aitkin, Aitkin, $3,360:
Support to be used to host Prairie Fire Children’s Theater who will conduct a live performance, professional theater week and workshops will during the week of August 5-11, 2018.

Good Harbor Hill Players, Grand Marais, Cook, $5,000:
Support to fund the Good Harbor Hill Players 2018 Summer Solstice Pageant, outdoor pageant, featuring large and small-scale puppets and live music, celebrating the summer solstice. Participants draw, paint, sculpt and construct large-scale puppets, choreograph scenes, create and play the “soundtrack” and learn the art of stilt walking. All workshops will be free of charge and all will be welcomed and encouraged to participate. The show itself will take place in the commons area of North House Folk School on the harbor in Grand Marais on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018.

International Falls Public Library, International Falls, Koochiching, $5,000:
Support to be used commission an outdoor ‘Spring’ sculpture for the southwest corner of the library grounds from local artist Eric Kulig. The artist has completed three other seasonal sculptures on the library grounds. This piece will complete the series. The sculpture will be created from March through August 2018, celebrated and unveiled at the end of August 2018 with final reporting of the project to occur by the end of October 2018.

Lake Superior Community Theatre, Silver Bay, Lake, $5,000:
Support to fund the Lake Superior Community Theatre’s presentation of the drama Fences by August Wilson in at Lincoln Park Middle School Auditorium in Duluth, Minnesota on March 27, 28, 29; Two Harbors, Minnesota High School Auditorium April 6, 7, 8 and Silver Bay, Minnesota William Kelley High School Auditorium (aka Silver Bay High School) April 13, 14, 15.

MDI Hired Hands, Cohasset, Itasca, $5,000:
Support to bring local visual artists to our site to work with employees, who are individuals with disabilities, in small groups and over a number of sessions to create art for our facility. Employees will also have an opportunity to visit MacRostie Art Center. The process will be a joint effort between the artists and the employees, with the result being an aesthetically improved worksite that employees can take pride in and that showcases the talents of our artistic community.

MN State Old Time Fiddle Championships, Virginia, St. Louis, $4,070:
Support to be used to support the 37th annual Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Championships (MSOTFC) on Sat., Aug. 4, 2018, at the Merritt Elementary School Auditorium in Mountain Iron, MN. 

Moose Lake Area Historical Society, Moose Lake, Carlton, $5,000:
Support to fund Brian Olson, a Duluth muralist, who will paint a 50 foot by 8 foot mural on site inside the 1918 Fire Museum, which is operated by the Moose Lake Area Historical Society (MLAHS). Actual photographs taken during the disaster inspire the specific scenes. Work will begin in February 2018 when the museum is closed, and the project will be completed in time for the museum’s spring opening. An official public event will take place in early summer; the museum will be the central location of commemoration events on October 12, 2018.

Northern Lake County Arts Board, Silver Bay, Lake, $2,570:
Support to be used to support a photography project with Paul Sundberg, nature photographer, and Travis Novitsky, Native American photographer & Park Ranger, as who will work with William Kelley School 4th grade students in developing competency in basic camera skills and principles of photography in a 5 day residency which includes two classroom sessions, two field trips (Gooseberry Falls State Park and Grand Portage State Park/National Monument Heritage Center), and will end in a public exhibition and presentation.

Two Harbors Area Arts and Events, Knife River, Lake, $5,000: 
Support to support Chalk.a.Lot, a sidewalk chalk festival for art enthusiasts and viewers of all ages and abilities. Participants will enjoy drawing on sidewalks and in the streets of downtown historic Two Harbors on July 14th, 2018.


Two-Year Operating Support Grant Recipients

ARAC granted $67,910 in Two-Year Operating Support funding to the following organizations on January 18, 2018:

Duluth Art Institute, Duluth, St. Louis, $15,000:
Support to help general operating support will be used to continue offering exhibits, classes, residencies, festivals and studio space, providing community connections, exhibition space, and opportunities for art making and art exploration, engagement and learning, nurturing all facets of the visual arts in the Twin Ports.

Grand Marais Playhouse, Grand Marais, Cook: $15,000:
Support to fund the creation of a four-year transitional plan that will include clarified board and staff roles, evaluate programming, create a new staffing structure, and develop a succession plan.

Lyric Opera of the North, Duluth, St. Louis, $15,000:
Support to be used for administrative capacity building and salary support for the General Artistic Director.

Matinee Musicale, Duluth, St. Louis, $9,320:
Support to be utilized as part of a capacity-building effort including increasing visibility, adding on online ticketing option, and obtaining and reviewing real-time financial and marketing information.

Northwoods Friends of the Arts, Cook, St. Louis, $13,590:
Support to be used in part to create a fundraising/marketing plan, upgrade computer systems, and subsidize the additional rental cost.


Quick Start Grant Recipients

ARAC granted Quick Start funding to the following organizations in FY17:

Bottle Cap Productions, Ely, St. Louis, $1000:
To purchase projector and screen for production of “Root Beer Lady, the Musical.”

Chisholm Public Schools, Chisholm, St. Louis, $1000:
To host “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” by Theater Latte Da.

Duluth Film Collective, Duluth, St. Louis, $860:
To purchase a television for screening films.

Grand Marais Art Colony, Grand Marais, Cook, $1000:
To purchase a portable air purifier with a carbon blend filter to ensure a non-toxic, high-quality workspace for studio artists, students, and employees.

Knife River Recreation Council, Knife River, Lake, $1000:
To support performers at the Knife River Julebyen Festival.

Mesabi Symphony Orchestra, Virginia, St. Louis, $1000:
Support to pay soloist for February 2017 concert series.

Singing Slovenes, Duluth, St. Louis $340:
To replace and upgrade on-stage banner and signage.

University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, St. Louis, $1000:
To host an open-call exhibition, Ceremonial Birth, at AICHO in Duluth.