Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mists

Pickerel Lake, Barnes, Wisconsin


Among others, the memorable elements of a weekend retreat to northwestern Wisconsin can include rain-drenched woods, the fourth movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C# minor, the second act of American Ballet Theatre’s 1977 “Giselle,” four weeks worth of The New York Times Book Review, and an aging Scottish terrier’s inability to sustain long walks in high humidity.


We have visited this extended family hideaway since 1989, each visit reflecting both stability and change. Trees inch upward imperceptibly, their changes in height observable by comparing annual photographs. Declining lake water levels become noticeable only after a few seasons. New construction on neighboring parcels occurs quickly and one later recalls that the new always was there.


The summer season – Memorial Day through Labor Day – has its rhythms of grilling, boating, and fishing, with late July being a quiet interlude with few visitors. Fall brings a relatively early frost and finds a few deer hunters combing the woods. Winter hosts activities by skiers and snowmobilers, organized loosely around the pro football schedule. Spring means transition, a time for preparation.


For years, one particular place across the lake was busy throughout the summer, with constant arrivals and departures by car and boat, and with swimmers daily visiting their anchored raft. Last year, however, the pace of activity over there slackened. This year, the raft remains landlocked and the winter covering continues to protect the pontoon boat. Incrementally, the kids have grown up and life patterns have changed for the extended L---- family. In a few years, perhaps, one might observe a group of college students taking their departure following a New Year’s Eve blowout, similar to that of a few years ago at the cabin next door to us.


• • •


Forever is a long time.


Those words have tugged at me for the nearly three weeks since Robert S. McNamara died at age 93. His passing serves to remind that we write our epitaphs incrementally by what we do and by what we leave undone. McNamara’s summing up is a tortured one:

“Architect of a Futile War,” read the headline for his obituary by Tim Weiner in the New York Times.


“’Terribly Wrong’ Handling of Vietnam Overshadowed Record of Achievement,” said the Washington Post in introducing its obit by Thomas Lippman.


“A fool,” wrote the journalist and author David Halberstam in his book “The Best and the Brightest.”

In Lippman’s words, McNamara served as the “primary architect of U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.” During his tenure as Secretary of Defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, from 1961 to 1968, 16,000 American soldiers died, with another 42,000 succumbing in the succeeding seven years under Nixon.


To these may be added the countless others who were wounded physically, psychically, and spiritually – just among Americans. Millions of Vietnamese also were killed, injured, and displaced.



As McNamara’s thinking in 1967 turned away from waging war and toward negotiation, he could have made a difference by making a public break with Johnson and resigning his post. Instead, he traded his loyalty and silence for an appointment in 1968 to lead the World Bank.


In his 1995 memoir, “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam,” McNamara said we were “wrong, terribly wrong.” At the time, notes Weiner, the New York Times editorialized:

Mr. McNamara must not escape the lasting moral condemnation of his countrymen. Surely he must in every quiet and prosperous moment hear the ceaseless whispers of those poor boys in the infantry, dying in the tall grass, platoon by platoon, for no purpose. What he took from them cannot be repaid by prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late.

Indeed. As millions of people found their voices to oppose the war the longer it carried on, McNamara owed them his in their effort to stop the bloodshed carried on in their names.


Still, he and his many colleagues in leadership need not twist in the wind by themselves. As Halberstam noted, McNamara was "a prisoner of his own background...unable, as indeed was the country which sponsored him, to adapt his values and his terms to Vietnamese realities."


• • •


I was 12 years old and attending summer camp on Green Lake near Chisago City, Minnesota, when North Vietnamese torpedo boats reportedly attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 1964. Three days later, The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was approved by both houses of Congress, passing unanimously in the House of Representatives and nearly so in the Senate. The resolution provided presidents Johnson and Nixon with the authorization – and the implied blank check – that they needed to conduct the military operations of the war. The attack on Aug. 4 never happened.


It took three days to mobilize the country for war. It would take years to mobilize the people for peace in sufficient numbers to elect a congress that would shut off the war's funding.


I spent the summer of 1977 campaigning in south Minneapolis as a candidate for the city council. Every citizen should stand for office at least once as the undertaking is among the best educations one can receive. Visiting with voters at their doors provides the opportunity to be embraced, rejected, applauded, dismissed, and challenged in every way. You meet everyone you can imagine.


One hot day, I was invited inside by a resident of one house. It was the home of a family whose son had been killed in Vietnam. At the time, I told myself I would never forget the particulars of their story; unfortunately, I have. What has stayed with me, however, was the utter emptiness and absence of life in that house. For its residents, time had stopped. I was running for municipal office, but for these folks their enduring relationship to government would always focus on the national forces that had taken their child. It was my first personalized insight into the sacred trust that should bind citizens and their elected officials.


Frequently, presidents talk to or meet with the surviving relatives of soldiers killed in the nation's service. In his diary entry for Sept. 6, 1983, President Reagan noted his call to the parents of two U.S. Marines killed in Lebanon: "One father asked if they were in Lebanon for anything that was worth his son's life." Although their policies and directives may not change as a result of such interactions, I think it is important that presidents and others have the experiences.


• • •


My friend, John, graduated from Columbia University last year and since has been working with AmeriCorps. He came here to Pickerel Lake with us during a too-brief visit last fall. We had met 10 years earlier when he moved to Minnesota as a young dancer, fresh from high school. After two years, he returned to California to dance with a company there. He has dropped in to visit us a few times over the years, and we have traveled to both coasts to see his performances.


As a dancer, as a student, and on his own initiative, John has had the opportunity to travel and take the measure of most of the U.S. and much of the world, including Australia, South America, and Europe.


Various sets of past circumstances could have conspired to make of him a soldier, fighting in my name, and yours. I mean no disrespect to any soldier when I acknowledge that I cannot dwell long on that thought – it is too painful to contemplate. In following the dictates of his own conscience, John may become a lifelong warrior of a different sort, but one who also makes it more difficult for nations and people to choose wars.


I am grateful that he added his essence to the mists on these shores. Among others, his presence was a memorable element of a weekend retreat to northwestern Wisconsin.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An evening at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center

Burnsville, Minnesota


That "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" won seven Tony Awards after its Broadway premiere in 1979 may have owed more to the weakness of its competition that year than to the strength of its own merits. It is a dreadful story of maniacal revenge told using a torturous score. Easy listening it is not. Still, it won for best musical, actor (Len Cariou), director (Harold Prince), score (Stephen Sondheim), book turned into musical, scenery, and costumes.


Staging the work requires ambition and endurance by any who would attempt it, including those of the Summer Theatre program of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. Working with a cast of 10 principals, a chorus of 30 men and women, and an orchestra of 20, director Randy Day and his colleagues opened a decent production at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, July 16. Several hundred people attended the July 18 performance.


The impressive range and facility of Javier Ferreira's voice in the title role stood out for its competence and clarity. For the rest, a dampening of sound from the main hall's orchestra pit, by whatever means, would have been welcome, as the un-miked instruments often overwhelmed the miked singer/actors as they faced-down the challenging lyrics and melodies.


Sally Graff's costumes conveyed a convincing authenticity of mid-19th century London styles. While serviceable, the un-credited set design made for awkward changes of scenery and failed to fully utilize the huge proscenium opening; resource limitations may have accounted for these results. The production runs through Aug. 1.


The access of student thespians to the grand facilities of BPAC had to inspire. A central feature of the complex is the all-glass, two-story lobby that defines an entire side of the building, with the second level lobby area accomodating 300 in banquet settings with views over the Minnesota River valley. A proscenium stage theater (45' x 100' – with 48' proscenium opening and orchestra pit) provides excellent sightlines for at least the lowest 700 (of 1,000 total) seats, while a black box theater can seat 150 in various configurations. The Center also includes a 2,000 sq. ft. art gallery, meeting rooms, and large rehearsal room.


Beginning this fall, BPAC also will be home to the Envision Academy of the Arts, a magnet school featuring dance, music, and theater, offered tuition-free to students in the District 191 communities, plus neighboring Lakeville. The Academy will have connections with MacPhail Center for the Arts, Minnesota Orchestra, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Children's Theatre Company.


The BPAC is part of Burnsville's Heart of the City development, combining housing, retail, parks, plazas, arts, and eventual hotel in a central walking district. It is operated by VenuWorks, a management firm for venues throughout North America. Executive Director Wolf Larson hails most recently from northern California. Stephen Rueff, production manager, may be familiar to many Minnesotans as a longtime stage manager and event producer. Steve's early days included stints as a dancer for New Dance Ensemble and Zenon Dance Company. While living in New York, he toured with Meredith Monk and the Blue Man Group, among others.


The Center's only discernable misstep to-date has been its affiliation with TicketMaster. No self-respecting venue that respects its patrons should work with an operation that charges a $5.75 per ticket "convenience fee," on top of a $2 per ticket facility charge, and $2.50 for the convenience of printing the ticket on one's own computer/printer. Adult tickets for "Sweeney Todd" at BPAC were listed at $18 – before these add-ons.


Much more user friendly is the series of late-night meet-ups to introduce the facilities to artists, audiences, and their friends. The first of the series was held July 18, with two more scheduled for Sat., July 25 and Aug. 1, 9pm to midnight, in the first-floor lobby and art gallery. Live music and live-working visual artists will be on hand to facilitate conversation and networking.


Those attending the July 18 event included Denise and Rick Vogt, co-directors of Ballet Royale, a classical academy opening in September in Lakeville. Both are former dancers, and Denise is certified by the Royal Academy of Dance.


As a sign of the excitement and interest that the new Center is generating, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council will hold its annual meeting at the BPAC, July 28.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Revisiting the Sea of Tranquility

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Forty years ago today, Apollo 11 lifted off from its Florida launch pad carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon.


Four days later, Sunday, July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin steered Eagle, their lunar module, to a landing at Tranquility Base on the moon's Sea of Tranquility, while Collins remained in overhead orbit in his command module. Within six and a half hours, at 10:56pm EDT, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on another world.


In four days more, the three men splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, fulfilling the nation's commitment to land on and return safely from the moon before the 1960s ended. In announcing his support for the Apollo program to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, President John Kennedy said

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Five moon landings subsequent to Apollo 11 ended in 1972. We have not been back since. Some say we should not make the trip, and others say we never will.


I think we should and hope that we will.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thanks for YES

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Vote Yes Minnesota, the organization that advocated for the Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota constitution that voters approved last November by 56+%, raised $3.97 million for its efforts. Writing for Finance and Commerce, July 13, Steve Perry reported that $1.82 million, or 46% of the total, was received in 15 donations of $25,000 or more. The single largest gift, $1 million, was contributed by Alida Messinger. Names of those donors accompanied Perry's report and are on file with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.


Thanks to all who provided the money, the muscle, and the votes for a statewide crusade of civic and moral responsibility!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer arts amusements at home and in Burnsville

Minneapolis, Minnesota


During July, MinnesotaPlaylist.Com is featuring "Stories," video interviews with 11 people who were there, about Minnesota's performing arts past. Check-in with the Playlist regularly for brief but informative visits with Don Stolz, Judith Brin Ingber, Patrick Scully, Faye Price, Charles Nolte, Marcus Dillard, Barbara Fields, Carolyn Pool, Sheila Livingston, Barbara Kingsley, and Stephen D'Ambrose.


• • •


My friend, Stephen Rueff, is the production manager at the new Burnsville Performing Arts Center. Steve and the Center are starting a new late night series on Saturday evenings, July 18, July 25, and Aug. 1.


"Sweeney Todd" will be running in the Main Hall theater which will be kept open after the Saturday night performances for a Late Nite hang out. BPAC will set up lounge furniture in the art gallery and lower lobby, will book two music groups to play for 40 minutes each night, and the art gallery will feature two people to paint/sketch the room live each night. They are looking for other performers (spoken word/choreographers/video artists) to come by for short performances.


BPAC will build the Late Nite audience with word of mouth through the arts community, using 40 cast, 15 orchestra, and 10 crew members of "Sweeney Todd" as the seed audience. Anyone – that means you and me – can join them in the lobby after the second act starts, from 9pm to Midnight.


BPAC opened in January with a 150-seat black box theater, a 1,000 seat proscenium stage (45' x 100' – with 48' proscenium opening) with sprung floor and orchestra pit, an art gallery, and a second floor lobby/reception area that can seat 300 in a banquet setting. Take I-35 south from Minneapolis or north from Lakeville to Burnsville Parkway; go east to Nicollet Avenue; go north to Travelers; then one block east to free parking.


For more information, call Rueff at 952.895.4678.


Friday, July 10, 2009

How to spend Minnesota's public arts money

Minneapolis, Minnesota


The directors and staffs of the Minnesota State Arts Board and the eleven Regional Arts Councils have an opportunity without precedent to invest in the future of our state and build an arts legacy second-to-none, provided they think and act globally as well as locally, daringly as well as prudently.


Last Nov. 4, more than 56% of Minnesota's voters said YES to the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to the
Minnesota Constitution. Starting July 1, Legacy increased the state sales tax by 3/8 of 1% for 25 years to dedicate funds for lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater, wetlands, prairies, forests, fish, game, wildlife habitat, parks, and trails. The amendment also provides 19.75% of the collected funds for arts, arts education and access, and preservation of history and cultural heritage.


With statewide lobbying by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, the 2009 Minnesota Legislature appropriated the first Legacy funds for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 (as reported by MCA):


Funding to the arts via the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils will increase by $21,650,000 per year for the next two years, for a total of $43.3 million. Added to the $8.6 million passed in the state’s economic development bill, there will now be just over $30 million in state funding for the arts annually, compared to just over $10 million annually this year.

Here is how it breaks down in each year, 2010 and 2011:

  • $16,775,000 for Arts and Arts Access Initiatives, “to support Minnesota’s artists and arts organizations in creating, producing and presenting high-quality arts activities; to overcome barriers to accessing high-quality arts activities, and to instill the arts into the community and public life in this state.”
  • $3,245,000 for Arts Education Collaborations, for “high-quality, age-appropriate arts education for Minnesotans of all ages to develop knowledge, skills, and understanding of the arts”
  • $1,080,000 for Arts in Cultural Heritage, “for events and activities that represent the diverse ethnic and cultural arts traditions, including folk and traditional artists and art organizations represented in this state, ” and
  • $550,000 for Fiscal Oversight and Accountability (to the MSAB). The first three items above will be available 70% from the MSAB and 30% from the Regional Arts Councils.
  • In addition to the dedicated funding above, libraries received $4.25 million per year which “may be used to sponsor programs provided by regional libraries, or to provide grants to local arts and heritage programs for programs in partnership with regional libraries,” (i.e., opportunities for artists and arts organizations to work with libraries).
  • Also, the Humanities Center received $300,000 per year for “museums and organizations celebrating the ethnic identities of Minnesotans” to re-grant, so there may be further opportunities for artists and arts organizations.

In addition, over the next two years, the Minnesota Historical Society will receive $14.4 million, public television $6.3 million, Minnesota Public Radio $2.65 million, AMPERS (local public radio) $2.65 million, children’s museums $1 million, the Science Museum of Minnesota $900,000, Minnesota Zoos $900,000, libraries $8.5 million, Indian Affairs Council (for projects related to the preservation of native languages) $1.9 million, Perpich Center for Arts Education $1 million, and the Minnesota Humanities Center, $2.1 million.


Pretty amazing? Look up from your screen and say "YES!"


Following the legislature's adjournment, staff of the Minnesota State Arts Board conducted a series of forums throughout the state to solicit feedback about funding principles and suggestions for specific funding areas. Currently, the MSAB's thinking embraces the following principles:

• Statewide approach
• Demographic and geographic fairness
Inclusiveness
• Sustainability
Anticipatory and flexible
Transparency and public involvement
Accountability and stewardship

I attended the public forum in Minneapolis on June 6 and, with 40 others, ran my mouth for two hours about how the MSAB and the RACs should spend Minnesota's public arts money for the next two years.
It was a fascinating and stimulating discussion. In the run-up to last November's balloting, I wrote here on Oct. 12 about the reasons why Minnesotans might want to vote YES, along with suggestions for how funds might be spent, with related posts on Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 5, and Jan. 22.


Today's Minnesota Mist posting updates and reflects my current thinking on the subject in response to the MSAB's request for input. You also should share your thinking, by the means described below.


I know what I am writing about. Besides knocking around Minnesota's arts milieu as a relatively successful arts administrator working with more than 50 communities during nearly 30 years, over the past 10 years, I served on 18 grant review panels for the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and the Jerome Foundation. In that service I analyzed and commented about the programs, administrations, and finances of hundreds of small and mid-sized organizations. During the 1990s, I worked with the Bush Foundation and its consortium of funding agencies to raise $100,000 to assist arts organizations, post-flood, in Grand Forks, North Dakota. For many years, I led an organization with access to a $100,000 commercial line of credit based upon my signature. In my consulting activities, I have reviewed and analyzed the tax returns and financial statements of more than 24 organizations. Along the way, I have coached many individual artists and ensembles on a variety of organization, program, administrative, and life issues.


These activities have made me familiar with hundreds of individuals and organizations in all disciplines and corners of the state – from Lanesboro and Rochester in the southeast, to Duluth and Grand Rapids in the north, to Fargo and Fergus Falls in the northwest, and the nine-to-13 counties of the Twin Cities region.
At whatever stage of their artistic development, all of these people embody the core values of artistic excellence, accountability and transparency as stewards of public resources, innovation, and respectful partnering in the intellectual and creative development of our people.


Although the legislature previously has been episodically very generous in its appropriations for the arts, its overall investment has not kept pace with inflation and growth of field since 1977. Individual elected representatives and senators who support the arts must acknowledge that fact of life, even as they seek to downplay their complicity in its reality. In this, the legislature differs not at all from the intents, practices, and capacities of our major corporate and foundation grant-making agencies.


With passage of the initiative by Minnesota's former governor, Arne Carlson, the legislature appropriated $13 million for the arts in 1998. This was reduced somewhat to $12.6 million for 2002, and to $8.59 million for each year 2003 to 2007.
The appropriation for 2008 was $10.33 million. The average annual inflation rate of 2.71% during the 10 years from 1998 to 2008 made the $13 million appropriation for 1998 equal to $17 million in 2008 and, if extended, $17.9 million in 2010.


My current assumptions, for the points that follow below: $21,650,000 of new annual funding + $8,600,000 of "existing funding" = $30,250,000 of annual funding in 2010 and 2011.


My wish list for 2010 and 2011 begins with the principle of restoring, through the rule-making process, all MSAB and RAC programs to the levels they enjoyed in 1998 when funding was $13 million. This restoration would require an allocation of $17.9 million to fund the same programs for the same number of communities, organizations, and individual artists, adjusted for inflation, but also adjusted for current, statutory mandates
and circumstances that recognize how communities, organizations, artists, and programs have changed or gone away over the past seven years. By what rationale would the MSAB and RACs do otherwise?


Then, the following minimum funding increases should be made to existing programs to allow for inflation and growth of field: (a) Individual artist initiatives, $1.25 million; (b) Institutional organization (general operating) support, $1.75 million; (c) Presenting organization support, $750,000; (d) Arts Across Minnesota touring, $750,000; (e) Arts education initiatives, $1 million.


All grants to individual artists by the MSAB or the RACs should equal or exceed $10,000. While current grants of lesser amounts for projects encourage the pursuit of artistic excellence, they rarely allow it to be realized. By what rationale should the grant amounts be less than $10,000?


If we believe that innovation and collaboration are keys to advancement, then funds should be available to any individual artist or arts organization, of any size, to commission new work from Minnesota artists in all disciplines. A $500,000 pool of commissioning funds, administered by the Minnesota State Arts Board on a once-per-year basis, should be available to applicants in amounts up to $50,000, with 20% of the available pool reserved for grants of $15,000 or less.


In the interest of sustainability, and to build infrastructure, the RACs should annually administer and grant from an $850,000 pool of technical assistance and equipment funds for all grantees of the MSAB and the RACs, regardless of budget size. The size of a specific grant should be without limit within the constraints of the total pool of available funds. Prior to 2003, the McKnight Foundation’s capital program made equipment and technical assistance grants to its grantees over and above its general operating grants. Grantees were eligible for one capital grant every five years. Applications were easy and straight-forward, and their approval helped build an organization’s physical infrastructure, including such things as telephones that work, computer networks that can talk to each other, lighting equipment, portable floors, choral risers at park pavilions, etc. For whatever good reasons, McKnight needed to discontinue this program; need for the program continues.


The MSAB should surmount bureaucratic obstacles and make an annual grant of up to $350,000 to the Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota. This grant should be earmarked specifically to accelerate the acquisition, processing, and retention of records – broadly defined – for archival purposes from performing arts organizations throughout Minnesota.



Once annually, members of the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils should convene as the [new] Minnesota Cultural Facilities Commission. The commission should have a $2.5 million pool of funds from which to make annual planning grants of up to $500,000, and capital construction grants of up to $2 million, for projects whose total cost will be $10 million or less. This body also should recommend statewide priorities to the legislature for capital bonding projects costing more than $10 million.


In the interests of inclusiveness and demographic and geographic fairness, new program initiatives should make $1.5 million available statewide on an annual basis for music organizations (rock and roll bands, rhythm and blues bands, GLBT bands, Christian or other sectarian instrumental/vocal groups, VFW and American Legion bands, community theaters, and bands and choirs of specific affinity groups). These initiatives should provide streamlined processes for idiosyncratic grants of as little as $500 to $1,000.


A $1 million pool of funds, administered by the MSAB, should be dedicated to experiments in the provision of administrative infrastructure for organizations with budgets less than $200,000. Current RAC programs provide funds to hire consultants who can tell artists what they need to do. This new funding pool would aim to provide the savvy skill-sets to actually do the work.


All grants should be available to organizations that are not necessarily 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Service code. Provision should be made for those, for instance, that are organized as limited liability corporations (LLC). If one considers that grants made to individual artists are made to "for profit" individuals, then it is not a major stretch to conclude that grants will be appropriate to some organizations that are "for profit."


Finally, although members of the legislature made it clear that a minimum of new arts funding should support increased staffing of the MSAB, the state's collective arts community should push back and insist that a minimum of $150,000 in new funds be devoted to the support of staffing positions at the agency. In other words, get the politicians out of the micromanaging of the personnel resources needed to conduct the agency's operations which have been understaffed for several years.


Now, it is your turn to weigh-in. Sue Gens, executive director, Minnesota State Arts Board, issued the following message on July 10:

Recently, the Minnesota State Arts Board and Minnesota's 11 regional arts councils completed a statewide series of public forums. The purpose was to collect input on how best to invest the new arts and cultural heritage funds that will become available this year. We are grateful to everyone who participated in these sessions.

If you were not able to participate, there is another way for you to provide input. Please take a few minutes to visit the Arts Board's Web site and share your thoughts by completing an online survey at http://www.arts.state.mn.us.

By what rationale would you not want to tell MSAB how to spend Minnesota's public arts money?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Stimulus" funds on way to arts groups

Minneapolis, Minnesota


The National Endowment for the Arts announced today its FY 2009 Grant Awards for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A total of 631 arts organizations nationwide will share $29,775,000 in grant amounts of either $50,000 or $25,000.


Minnesota arts organizations (26, or 4% of the grantees) will receive $1,025,000 (3.4% of the total dollars) to support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.


The grantees include American Composers Forum, St. Paul, $25,000; Art Start, St. Paul, $25,000; Children's Theatre Company, Minneapolis, $50,000; Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, $25,000; East Side Arts Council, St. Paul, $25,000; Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, $50,000; Graywolf Press, St. Paul, $25,000; Guthrie Theatre Foundation, $50,000; Heart of the Beast Theater, Minneapolis, $25,000; Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, $50,000; IFP-Minneapolis, $25,000; Illusion Theater & School, Minneapolis, $50,000; Loft, Inc., Minneapolis, $50,000; MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis, $50,000; Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, $25,000; Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, Minneapolis, $50,000; Minnesota Opera Company, Minneapolis, $50,000; Minnesota Orchestral Association, Minneapolis, $50,000; Minnesota Public Radio, Inc., St. Paul, $50,000; Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Minneapolis, $25,000; Penumbra Theatre Company, Inc., St. Paul, $25,000; Public Radio International, Inc., Minneapolis, $50,000; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society, St. Paul, $50,000; Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul, $25,000; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis (museums), $50,000; and VocalEssence, Minneapolis, $50,000.


With the exception of the Franconia Sculpture Park, no Minnesota arts organizations located outside of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul – in those places where philanthropic and other support is harder to come by – made the cut.


Also noteworthy: in spite of having the second or third most thriving dance scene in the U.S., not a single Minnesota dance organization was granted stimulus funds to save jobs. Nationally, 60 dance organizations (9.5% of the total grantees) were awarded $2,650,000 (8.9% of total dollars).


The economic stimulus package passed by Congress earlier this year included $50 million for the arts, of which today's grants are a part. In April, the NEA awarded 63 grants, totalling $19.8 million, to 63 state and regional agencies; in that round, the Minnesota State Arts Board received $316,000, and the Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest received $514,400.