Organization Awards

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

Rural and Community Art Project Grant Recipients

ARAC granted $45,000 in Rural and Community Art Project funding to the following organizations on June 21, 2018:

Boundary Waters Choral Festival, Babbitt, St. Louis, $5,000
Support to fund the tenth Boundary Waters Choral Festival (BWCF), a two-day collaboration of choral students and educators and a special guest artist culminating in a public Mass Choir performance.

Chisholm Downtown Revitalization Project, Chisholm, St. Louis, $5,000
Support to fund the implementation of a new sculpture in O’Neil Park by engaging with artist Aaron Squadroni to commission a permanent, community-driven artwork.

Ely Winter Festival, Ely, St. Louis, $5,000
Support to fund the 2019 Ely Winter Festival’s Snow Sculpture Symposium in Whiteside Park.

Free Range Film Festival, Wrenshall, Carlton, $5,000
Support to fund the exhibition of new work by Kathy McTavish and Cecilia Ramon in the Free Range Film barn from August through September of 2018. During the run of the exhibition, Cecilia Ramon will host artist-led talks and lead hands-on art making activities for audience members. McTavish will create site-specific installations inside the barn that incorporate projection, sound, and computer code. Kristen Pless will document the exhibition during its run.

Icebox Radio Theater, International Falls, Koochiching, $5,000
Support to fund the Icebox Radio Theater production of 9-to-10 hours of original audio theatre with at least two being recordings of performances before a live audience. This year, each of the IBRT plays will be new adaptations of works of classic literature.

Knife River Recreation Council, Knife River, Lake, $5,000
Support to fund the “Julenissen Klasser” (Christmas Elf Classes) for children 7-12 held in a separate 20′ x 20′ bump out in the Gnome Dome tent during the Knife River Julebyen. Workshops will give cultural and artistic knowledge to the next generation and include hands-on skills and literary references to Scandinavian fairy tales and mythological.

Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community, Carlton, Carlton, $5,000
Support to fund arts programming at the Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community including: 24 Cookin’ at the O jazz events; 36 Magnolia Salons; 2 Outdoor Movies; and the Pickin’ at the O Bluegrass and Folk Festival.

Rainy Lake Community Orchestra, International Falls, Koochiching, $5,000
Support to fund the 2018 Summer String Camp, a week-long string orchestra workshop, August 12-17 at the Community Hall in Ranier, MN. Approximately 40 musicians, including 10 children and 15 mentors and guest artists will attend.

VFW Post 1720, Grand Rapids, Itasca, $5,000
Support to fund the 2018-2019 series of Jazz at the VFW, presenting high-quality jazz hosted by Sam Miltich and Friends and featuring special guest artists.

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).

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 FY18:

Aitkin Community Education, Aitkin, Aitkin, $800
Support for summer theater camp for teens and young adults.

Borealis Art Guild, Hibbing, St. Louis, $1000
Support to purchase a dedicated computer for its recently acquired large format scanner and printer.

Gary-New Duluth Development Alliance, Duluth, St. Louis, $1000
Support to present “Music from the Alps to the Adriatic” at the new performance pavilion in the Gary-New Duluth Recreation Area.

Mesabi Symphony Orchestra, Virginia, St. Louis, $1000
To work with a web designer to update and upgrade the MSO’s website.

Minnesota Museum of Mining, Chisholm, St. Louis, $1000
Support for upcoming ‘Iron Pour on the Iron Range’ event.

Nordic Center, Duluth, St. Louis, $1000
Support for a concert with Frigg (from Finland) at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

Oldenburg Arts & Cultural Community, Carlton, Carlton, $1000
Support to work with a web designer to create a website for the organization.

Spirit Lake Poetry Series, Duluth, St. Louis, $1000
Support to host a reading with former US Poet Laureate, Natasha Tretheway.