Nonprofit arts groups in the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area can apply for grants of up to $15,000 to help make arts programming, activities and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. The grants are intended to help involve more people with disabilities as participants in arts programs. In the first three years of the grant, VSA Minnesota awarded 52 grants to 40 organizations, totaling $602,985.
The ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. This fund directs a substantial portion toward arts access and arts education. As in the past three years, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has designated a portion of its grant funds to be awarded in 2013 by VSA Minnesota (www.vsamn.org). Application deadlines are March 8 and May 17.
Eligible counties include in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. Eligible projects might include a ramp, lift, elevator, automatic door opener; a legally accessible bathroom; a Braille guide to your facility and organization; a training for your staff, board, docents or ushers on practices that serve patrons with various disabilities; a captioned video about your programs; assistive listening units for your auditorium or conference rooms; a study of what potential patrons with disabilities need in order to enjoy your center as other patrons do – anything that helps to remove barriers and more effectively serve and attract artists, audience members, board or staff with disabilities.
Information meetings about the grant (listed below) are opportunities to ask questions, pose possible projects, and get copies of the grant. Informal RSVPs are being taken so enough copies of the guidelines and application will be available. Contact Jon at VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or download grant forms at http://www.vsamn.org/forms.
Information meetings: (Check website for additional meetings)
Bloomington: Thursday, Jan. 31, 3:00-4:30 PM at Bloomington Center for the Arts, Dakota Conference Room (off theatre lobby), 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd.; free parking on west or east sides of building; 952-563-8877, http://www.ci.bloomington. mn.us/main_top/2_facilities/
Mahtomedi: Saturday, Feb. 2, 10:00-11:30 AM at Wildwood Library, 763 Stillwater Rd; 651-426-2042, http://www.co.washington.mn.
Note: A separate grant is also available for nonprofit arts groups served by the Lake Region Arts Council in Fergus Falls. A total of $8,000 is available, with a May 3, 2013, deadline, for groups located in Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse or Wilkin counties.