Ten Twin Cities arts organizations have been awarded ADA Access Improvement Grants by VSA Minnesota. The nonprofits will use their grants, totaling $114,256, to make their arts programs more accessible to people with disabilities. Since 2010, 140 projects by 70 different organizations have been funded, totaling $1,623,000.
VSA Minnesota has administered the ADA Access Improvement Grant program since 2010 for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). Funds come from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. The purpose is to enable nonprofit arts organizations in the seven-county Twin Cities area to improve their programs, projects, equipment, or facilities in ways that have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.
Funded projects are:
(* = short-term impact guidelines with smaller grants)
The Arts’ Nest, Minneapolis — $15,000
Arts Nest will provide Audio Description and ASL services for every group renting Phoenix for a multiple performance run; install an augmented hearing assistance system; and offer biannual trainings for front of house staff and rental groups.
* Art Shanty Projects, Minneapolis — $5,400
Art Shanty Projects transforms the frozen lake surface of Lake Harriet into a festival that broadens perceptions of art and artist while creating positive community impact. They value artists, art in all communities and the interaction between them. Improved accessibility of the On-Ice Program expands audience outreach and adheres to the commitment of increased cultural vitality through the arts.
* Cow Tipping Press, Minneapolis — $7,500
Cow Tipping Press will expand the impact and accessibility of its creative writing program for adults with developmental disabilities by reducing the cost of classes for four new partner organizations in 2018-2019.
Friends of the Lakeville Area Arts Center, Lakeville — $7,681
The Lakeville Area Arts Center is slated to undergo several site improvements starting in 2018. In addition to grounds and building exterior improvements, a number of the proposed updates will improve accessibility to the facility. These updates include the installation of an ADA compliant sidewalk, ramp, additional handicap accessible parking spaces and site improvements.
Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis — $15,000
Mixed Blood Theatre will support its continued and aggressive efforts to meet the needs of theater patrons from diverse disability communities, ensuring the accessibility of FY 18-19 Mainstage shows.
nimbus, Minneapolis — $15,000
Nimbus will complete construction of two new accessible restrooms and renovation of existing facilities to meet ADA compliance at their venue, The Crane Theater.
Simply ArtAble, Minneapolis — $15,000
Simply ArtAble will provide free painting classes to older adults and residents with disabilities in public housing and assisted living facilities including: Presbyterian Homes, Heritage House and Mt. Olivet Homes. Simply ArtAble will engage this underserved group with relaxing and creative art programming at each location once a month.
Threads Dance Project, Golden Valley — $11,175
Threads Dance Project will create and premiere a new dance work geared specifically towards blurring the boundaries between the Twin Cities’ deaf/hard of hearing community and the hearing community. Threads will also tour excerpts of the show and teach dance workshops to schools in the metro with deaf/hard of hearing programs and students.
Upstream Arts, Minneapolis — $15,000
Upstream Arts will conduct a series of specialized trainings and curriculum development sessions — led by experts from the disability and arts community — to increase the capacity of its Teaching Artists to use and make the disciplines of poetry and music more accessible to individuals with disabilities; and to provide arts programming that is relevant to and addresses the topics of transition, loss and grief as they are experienced by individuals with disabilities.
* Young Dance, Minneapolis — $7,500
Young Dance will conduct Intersect, an investigation of the crossroads of music and dance through improvisation, choreography, and performance led by performing artists Gaelynn Lea and Angelique Lele.
GRANT REVIEW PANELISTS:
Applications were scored by a panel of persons active in arts and disability communities; VSA Minnesota’s board approved the panel’s recommendations. Panelists included:
Nikki Abramson, performing & teaching artist, Bloomington
Erin Brueggemann, Program Manager, ArtsLab, & Access co-coordinator, Arts Midwest
Paul Deeming, ASL interpreter, DeafBlind Services MN (DBSM) staff
Hunter Gullickson, Accessibility Coordinator, Guthrie Theater
Debra Hegstrom, Senior Educator, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Roberta L. Kehne, Physical Access Coordinator, U of M Disability Resource Center
Kaitlyn Mielke, Outreach Specialist for ThinkSelf, St. Paul
Tara L. Tieso, visual artist; board member of WARM and The Show Gallery Lowertown
The next grant application deadlines are Dec. 7, 2018, and May 1, 2019.
Founded in 1986, VSA Minnesota is a statewide, nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts. It is an affiliate of VSA, a program of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.