Wallace Foundation Awards $6.9 Million to Support Arts in Twin Cities

The New York City-based Wallace Foundation has announced grants totaling $5.3 million to eight Minneapolis-Saint Paul arts organizations in support of audience-building efforts around the region.

Through its Excellence Awards program, the foundation will award grants ranging from $300,000 to $750,000 over four years to the MacPhail Center for Music, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Mixed Blood Theatre Company, the Northern Clay Center, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Each grantee also will receive technical assistance designed to help them better understand the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of the target groups it is trying to reach.

The foundation also awarded a four-year, $1.6 million grant to support a collaboration between the Minnesota Community Foundation and Arts Midwest to foster growth in public arts attendance across the region and to identify, develop, and share useful lessons on how arts organizations can reach more people. The partnership will work to create a learning network for local arts organizations while supporting their participation-building efforts. The initiative, which will provide small grants for local arts projects, also is designed to encourage arts groups to rethink and improve relationships with their patrons and supporters to meet the demands of a changing social and economic climate.

"The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts part of their DNA," said Wallace Foundation president Christine DeVita. "We created these awards to draw national attention to the importance of engaging more people in the arts, to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with local constituencies, and to generate an assortment of useful, broadly applicable lessons and practices that will be helpful to the field."

For more information about the 2008 Excellence Award winners, visit the Wallace Foundation Web site.