Monday, August 15, 2011

Minnesota State Arts Board renews grant funding for two Saint Mary’s University programs

Winona, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Performance Center and SMU’s Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts have been selected to receive grant funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts was awarded $18,866, and the Performance Center was awarded $19,824.

In 2010 and 2011, the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts was awarded funding as an organization that provides open access and arts learning opportunity for people of all ages and abilities through the State Arts Board’s “Community Arts Schools and Conservatories grant division.” For 2012, MCA will be awarded formulary and merit-based funding for operating support, acknowledging MCA as a leader in community arts education for the state of Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Arts board funding will help support and expand MCA’s current programming in dance, music, and theatre for children and youth. The grant will also allow MCA to venture into new community outreach projects, provide residency workshops for local schools, launch MCA’s new Adult Arts Wellness program, move into the implementation stages of a visual arts division, and remain fiscally responsible with balanced budgets.

“Writing grants is an intense and time-consuming process, but it was well worth it,” said Minnesota Conservatory managing director, Christine Martin. “This grant helps solidify the future of MCA,” she added. As a non-profit organization, grant support allows MCA to continue offering quality arts programming to the Winona and surrounding area communities.

In 2010-2011 MCA employed 26 teaching artists; served 416 local children/youth and 82 adult students; and last year more than 3,500 people attended dance and music performances and events produced by MCA, including its semi-annual production of “The Nutcracker.”

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, a non-profit 501c3 organization, provides quality arts education and performance by nurturing and encouraging artistic expression in children and adults. MCA’s service to the community ranges from recreational to pre-professional performing arts curriculum, and programming designed to provide physical and aesthetic benefits, heightened self-respect, discipline, and confidence.

The Saint Mary’s University Performance Center’s Page Series also was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to continue its work in the community. The Page Series completed its 24th season of providing the Winona community access to the best in the performing arts from around the world. Associated with Page Series events is always a community/education component. This year’s activities included master classes, pre-show lecture/discussions and partnerships with the Winona Public Library.

In addition, the SMU Performance Center provided matinee performances for 2,274 K-12 students from throughout the area. The SMU Performance Center also works in partnership to assist other community arts initiatives including Home and Community Options and the Beethoven Festival.

Both Saint Mary’s University programs received amounts beyond their initial formula award because the State Arts Board panel recognized the exceptional work both programs do in local community involvement.

In reaction to the grant awards, Saint Mary’s President Brother William Mann had this to say, “Partnerships with the Minnesota State Arts Board and with our local community are examples of how Saint Mary’s University can reach beyond itself through relationships of creativity and service.”

For more information about the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, visit For more information regarding the Saint Mary’s Performance Center’s Page Series events, visit