The unrest that has unfolded in the wake of yet another tragic loss of a black person’s life has turned into a movement for an end to systemic racism across the nation and across the world. Northwest Minnesota Arts Council stands with and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racist violence is unfortunately a part of our history, of society, and it must stop. We must not tolerate racism towards people of color, indigenous groups, Latinos, or any minority group held back and held down by systemic injustices. We pledge to fight racism wherever it appears.
For more than two years, the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council has been working on issues of equity in how public dollars are distributed for the arts, how arts groups can affirm equity as a core principle, and how we operate as an organization.
It’s only the beginning of a long journey that will require us to listen to more people, to probe deep-set biases, and to question many aspects of our operations.
We’ve changed many of our practices in the past two years, including adding an Equity Task Force and diversifying our board members and hosting focus groups, but still know we need to do more. If you would like to join us in this work towards justice and equity for all in our region, please feel welcome and appreciated for what you bring to the table.
Additionally, we know people need art now more than ever to express ourselves and cope with the many emotions we have all been feeling. We will be sponsoring a virtual art workshop and exhibit in the near future on this theme so please stay tuned for more information.
Perpich Arts High School is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Space remains in all six of their art areas: Dance, Literary Arts, Media Arts, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts. Prospective students/families can connect via email, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
At Perpich Arts High School, students spend 3 hours each day in their art; learning, growing, creating, performing, exhibiting. Students come to Perpich as artists, and under the guidance of licensed teachers who are also working artists, they develop into thinking artists, prepared to follow any future path they choose to pursue. Students engage in rigorous college-preparatory academics in the morning, and have each afternoon devoted to deep artistic study.
We are committed to the health and safety of our staff, the public, and the artists we serve. Thus, we have had to make changes to the way we do business.
Office Closing The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council office is closed and our staff will work from home until further notice. If you need to come to our office you will need to make an appointment. We are also available by phone or email. Please give us a call at 218-745-9111 and leave a message or email email@example.com. Please stay tuned for any changes or updates!
Routine Grant Activity We have received some inquiries about grants that had activities during this time. We know that some granted activity will need to be suspended, rescheduled, or canceled. As we field questions and requests from those planning changes to their granted projects and programs, our commitment is to find solutions that will result in the least amount of hardship for all involved. There are amendment forms within all the current grants. We are asking that grantees make amendments — some may be postponements, a few canceled events or outside the box thinking for deliverables. Please know that we will do our best to accommodate during this time. Reach out with questions or concerns.
In addition, we have added to our existing Quick Turn Around grants for artists questions related to COVID-19 disaster relief. These are for $500.00.
NW Annual Art Exhibit and Of the Year Awards Reception
At this time we have postponed our annual exhibit and reception. Please stay tuned for dates and information as it becomes available.
Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is anticipating taking a cut to our budget somewhere between 15-40%.
This is because we are largely funded by the Legacy Amendment, which is State sales tax, which will go down because of the downturn in the economy due to COVID-19. Our board has approved some tentative budgets that reflect this cut, but our actual funding will not be confirmed until the end of June.
Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants will be available. Deadline November 1st. No August 1st deadline due to uncertain funding.
If the decrease in funding is severe at 40% reduction, we will limit the ACH grants to only 501c3 non-profit arts organizations. Our priority will be to help arts organizations survive & adapt.
School Residency Grants of $2,100 will continue with an August 1 deadline.
Our Individual Artists grants will not be affected by the budget cuts, as they are funded by the McKnight Foundation.
We are offering a $500 disaster relief grant for artists on a first come, first served basis.
Minnesota State Arts Board Survey
The Minnesota State Arts Board wants to know COVID-19’s impact on the creative community & support needed. A message from the Minnesota State Arts Board: “The Minnesota State Arts Board and Minnesota’s regional arts councils know that people and organizations in our state’s arts and creative sector are being tested and challenged as never before. The physical, emotional, and financial toll that COVID-19 is taking is beyond our ability to measure, at this point. To help us get a handle on what’s happening and guide our immediate and longer-term responses to COVID-19, we need your input.”
Please take FIVE MINUTES to complete a very brief and simple survey. Take the survey here. They began reviewing the information on March 25, but the situation is evolving every day, so the survey will be kept live and new responses will continue to be reviewed as they are received.
Resources and Sources
The following links provide resources that may be helpful for artists and arts organizations going forward:
Forecast for the Arts: https://forecastpublicart.org/pro-bono-consulting-in-response-to-covid-19/
Forecast has launched pro bono consulting to support public artists and public art program administrators during this pandemic until May 31, 2020. They will provide up to one hour of consultation; where necessary, follow-up consultations may be available FREE of CHARGE. If you don’t need consulting support at this time but have experience, expertise, and time that you are willing to offer to help others, please contact Jen Krava at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding this initiative: email@example.com.
They have also launched a toolkit on creative alternatives to in-person arts-based activities, for artists and administrators. The toolkit was created with artists, arts organizations, presenting organizations, and others collaborating with artists in mind. It contains strategies for adapting in-person arts-based activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will continue to develop it based on open-source input from you. To download the toolkit visit here.
Minnesota Council of Non-Profits (for information about unemployment): https://www.minnesotanonprofits.org/about-mcn/news-detail/2020/03/24/unemployment-insurance-information-and-updates.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. Download a document with more info:
Arts Leaders, Promoters, and More: Capacity Interactive created a program to inspire and share ideas about ways to produce and promote the arts and art activities during the pandemic. It includes music, dancing, and other performances. The program was created online and recorded. Be warned, it lasts 4 1/2 hours! Watch it here: https://youtu.be/X2VyeLkDNSY
Online info for non-profits
Financial Management: Actions for Boards Governing in a Crisis. What is the role of the nonprofit board right now? Where is their leadership needed most to support the organization, its employees, and the recipients of its services? Info covering ten actions nonprofit boards can take in this time of unprecedented uncertainty.
As our state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that the Minnesota State Arts Board is concerned about the health and safety of everyone who works in the arts sector, and the health and safety of the participants, audience, and community members who we serve.
There are many unknowns about COVID-19, and its physical, economic, and emotional impacts are changing rapidly. We wanted to share the best information we have at this moment, and will provide new information as we receive it.
What’s happening in Minnesota
As of today, there are 14 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in our state. So far, cases have been confined to eight counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Stearns, Wright. Fortunately, there have been no deaths; only 2 of the 14 patients are hospitalized.
Today, Governor Walz announced an executive order that declares a peacetime emergency which he described as opening a tool kit that can be ready if and when needed.
In addition, the Minnesota Department of Health announced a set of recommended community mitigation strategies to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The strategies should be implemented immediately and stay in effect until further notice.
Two strategies will specifically impact arts activities: – Postpone or cancel large events where 250 people or more would gather – Postpone or cancel smaller events (fewer than 250 people) that are held in venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person The full list of recommended strategies is available here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/action.html
Rely on trusted sources
The Minnesota Department of Health is the focal point of planning and information in our state. MDH is updating its Web site frequently. The coronavirus section of the site contains helpful information and advice about COVID-19 and precautions you can take.
The Centers for Disease Control also has helpful information about the virus and about steps to take to keep homes, workplaces, and commercial establishments safe.
We will post some additional, arts specific resources and links on the Arts Board Web site. If you are an Arts Board applicant, grantee, or grant review panelist, Arts Board staff members are available to respond to your questions. We know that COVID is having an impact on your activities and want to be as helpful as we can be.
Current grant activities – If you need to reschedule or modify Arts Board funded activities, please contact your program officer to discuss your options for a contract amendment or extension.
Information sessions – We have sessions scheduled in Winona and Park Rapids in the coming weeks. At the moment, those will go forward as planned, but we are closely monitoring the situation and will postpone or modify the format, if need be.
FY 20201 grant application review meetings – The Arts Board is scheduled to begin Operating Support, Arts Learning, and Minnesota Festival Support grant application panel review meetings in late April, May, and June. At this point, we haven’t made any changes to the schedule and format for those meetings, but we will be closely monitoring the situation and, if needed, may make changes in the coming weeks.
This situation is new for all of us. Please keep the lines of communication open. Please let us know what your questions and concerns are, and we will do what we can to address them. Most importantly, please do everything you can to stay healthy, and to help others stay healthy. Sue Gens Executive Director
It’s that time again for Minnesota’s Giving Holiday. The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is raising money though Give to the Max Day. GiveMN links donors with organizations that are working to make Minnesota a better place. Its online giving website, GiveMN.org, enables charitable giving any time and any place, allowing people to donate with ease and enthusiasm. GiveMN brings innovation, energy and fresh ideas to Minnesota generosity.
GiveMN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Visit GiveMN.orgtoday to support the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.