Central Minnesota Arts Board meet to discuss grant funding

The Central Minnesota Arts Board meets for the first time this fiscal year.
The Central Minnesota Arts Board meets for the first time this fiscal year. Photo by Nathan Merrier.

Foley, Minn. – the Central Minnesota Arts Board (CMAB) had its first meeting of the fiscal year Thursday.

The CMAB is a non-profit arts organization that was founded in 1979 as one of the 11 Regional Arts Councils designated by the Minnesota State Arts Board. The CMAB serves Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties with the purpose providing professional development services and funding grant proposals as well as other financial services to support the arts.

The mission of the CMAB, according to organizations website, is “Investing in the Arts throughout Benton, Stearns, Sherburne and Wright Counties,” and part of their vision for the upcoming years, includes the CMAB, “Helping to foster a thriving, collaborative and innovative arts community through partnerships and financial support.”

According to CMAB’s website, at their meeting in June they awarded $15,764 in Artist Career Development Grants, $5,827 in Small Capital Arts Grants to four local schools, $9,735 in Small Capital Arts Grants to four local art non-profits, Six Student Arts Scholarships to high school seniors totaling $9,000, and Eight CMAB/McKnight Individual Artist Awards to local recognized artists.

This meeting was not as award heavy as June’s, as board members voted on funding for the Artist in Residency Program, Teaching Artist Grants and Project Grants. During the meeting, the board members examined grant proposals and evaluated them based on artistic merit, demonstrated need and the artist’s ability. The board also welcomed its youngest and newest board member, Justin Lewandowski, who according to the CMAB’s website, is representing Stearns County.

The CMAB is also working on its public outreach, according to Leslie LeCuyer, the CMAB’s executive director.

LeCuyer said, “Not a lot of people know about the Minnesota regional arts counsel system, and I think it’s a huge value that Minnesota provides.

LeCuyer went on to explain, “With the passing of the Legacy Amendment in 2008, our funding tripled and that helped make Minnesota’s appropriation for the arts the highest in the nation.”

Then LeCuyer expanded more on the CMAB’s public outreach saying, “We want people to be aware of the services and grant programs we provide here, and we are working on communicating more with the public and the four counties to let the people know that we are here to serve them.”

The meetings are open to the public at CMAB’s downtown Foley headquarters.

For arts students, LeCuyer recommended that you check out the grants and scholarships the CMAB has to offer.

LeCuyer said, “If you’re a Minnesota resident for six months and are 18 years or older, and an arts student, you should apply for emerging artist award, or Artist Career Development Program.”

According to the CMAB’s website, the Student Arts Scholarship awards $1,500 to selected students who are pursuing an art or art-related major, with the Artist Career Development Program awards $3,000 to an artist who is 18 or older and helps then achieve the next step in their artistic career.

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