Austin Area Arts awarded $196,000 grant

Published 9:13 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) has awarded an Operating Support grant to the Austin Area Arts totaling $196,592. The grant will be awarded in installments of $49, 148 per year over the next four years.

The amount was part of a statewide pool of $15,6555.357 awarded to 177 organizations on July 26.

According to the MSAB, “Operating Support funding enables qualifying organizations to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding.”

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This is the largest operating grant awarded to Austin Area Arts in the 26-year history of the organization.

“A multi-year operating grant is the holy grail of funding for an arts organization,” said Austin Area Arts Executive Director Laura Helle. “These funds will allow Austin Area Arts’ staff to focus on serving the community rather than a constant pressure to bring in revenue.”

Austin Area Arts completed an extensive written application for the grant that was scored by a panel of artists and arts stakeholders. The MSAB also conducted a visit and sent a representative to experience an Austin Area Arts program. These activities allowed the MSAB to evaluate the effectiveness of Austin Area Arts’ programming, administrative functions, public benefit and ability to engage and serve Minnesotans while meeting identified outcomes.

The Operating Support grant funds will be used to support the general operations of Austin Area Arts, such as utilities and staffing.

Funding for the MSAB programs and services is appropriated by the State of Minnesota — largely funded by sales tax revenue generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment – with supplemental support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the private sector.