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VSA Minnesota Summer News

vsa-logoThis brief missive for Minnesota arts organizations has five items of interest:

1.     Eight metro arts nonprofits are June recipients of ADA Access Improvement Grants from VSA Minnesota for projects to make their facilities and programs more accessible for people with disabilities. Details are on our website. Grants of up to $15,000 will again be available in late 2016 and early 2017, thanks to our Minnesota Arts Legacy Fund!

2.     If you have a staff member or volunteer who may be interested in learning about Audio Description — a service that makes visual images accessible for people who are blind or have low vision — several trainings are available this summer in Minneapolis, Moorhead and Pittsburgh. You can reach the low-vision portion of your audience more effectively when a describer conveys the visual images in plays, TV, film, visual art, museum exhibits, etc. using words that are succinct, vivid, objective and imaginative. Here’s our website link.

3.     Remember that if you are offering an arts event with a service that will include people with disabilities to send a news release to VSA Minnesota so you can be included in our online (and emailed the last week of each month) Accessible Arts Calendar. Our information also goes to other media including Access Press. You can also submit items directly to Minnesota Playlist. If you’re not proactively scheduling ASL interpreters, etc., we can still list your event or festival (see our Resources for Community).

4.     To get a glimpse of where Minnesota is in terms of “access to the arts” go to the American Council of the Blind website to see which organizations in each state offer audio described performances for people with vision loss. Look at the lists in each state, and then look at Minnesota….

5.     Finally, consider offering your staff, board or volunteers an occasional training update on disability etiquette or specific ways your organization can be as welcoming as possible to patrons with disabilities. VSA Minnesota offers a variety of Accessibility Training Topics or resources, or can refer you to independent contractors with expertise in disability and accessibility.

Additional Opportunities:

Artist Initiative Grant deadline August 5 for visual artists

     The Minnesota State Arts Board provides annual Artist Initiative Grants of $2,000 to $10,000 to support and assist artists at various stages in their careers. It encourages artistic development, nurtures artistic creativity, and recognizes the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of Minnesota. Grants will be awarded for career building and for the creative development of artists. Some artists may choose to request funds to create new work, but that isn’t a requirement of the program. The last deadline this year is for visual arts, media arts, photography: 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 5. Deadline for writers and performers was June 10.

All applicants must use the WebGrants system to submit all materials electronically. Details are available at Registration is required. Online tutorials are available. If you have questions, contact: Kathee Foran, program officer,, 651-215-1626. Technical questions may be e-mailed to:, or call Tom Miller, project manager, 651-215-1611 or 800-866-2787.

Forecast Public Art offers Mid-Career Project Grant

Forecast Public Art’s Mid-Career Project Grant supports mid-career Minnesota-based public artists to create an artist-initiated dream project anywhere in Minnesota. The grant opportunity is funded by The McKnight Foundation. Application deadline is July 12. Requirements are described online at Apply at: Questions:




Located at Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts

528 Hennepin Ave., Suite 305, Minneapolis MN 55403