People and Places – February 2017

Six Twin Cities arts groups receive arts access grants Six Twin Cities arts organizations have been awarded ADA Access Im­provement […]

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young-danceSix Twin Cities arts groups receive arts access grants

Six Twin Cities arts organizations have been awarded ADA Access Im­provement Grants by VSA Minnesota. The nonprofits will use grants, totaling $67,320, to make arts programs more accessible to people with disabilities.

Funded projects include Artabil­ity, part of People Incorporated, St. Paul, which encourages mental health through visual and written artistic expression. The $7,500 grant will pro­vide art supplies, instructors and ASL interpreters to increase access to its free art-making workshops for deaf mental health services artists.

The Arts’ Nest, Minneapolis, will use a $12,500 grant to remodel a current storage room on the main level of Phoe­nix Theater into both a wheelchair-ac­cessible single-occupant restroom and an accessible dressing room space for performers.

Illusion Theater & School, Minneapo­lis, will use a $12,060 grant to adapt the front row of its theater to create addi­tional accessible seating for people who use wheelchairs, crutches and walkers. Current seating will be removed and moveable chairs purchased. Illusion will also conduct focus groups with current and prospective theatre patrons who are hearing impaired to create connections and understand ways to improve their experience at Illusion, leading to in­creased attendance by that community.

Nimbus Theatre, Minneapolis, will use a $15,000 grant to make the en­trance of its new theater building fully accessible.

Take-Up Productions /Trylon Cin­ema, Minneapolis, will use a $15,000 grant to will renovate its movie theater with a new entryway and street façade that enables easy access for patrons with disabilities, and three additional wheel­chair accessible spaces in the 100-seat theater.

Young Dance, Minneapolis, will use a $5,260 grant to conduct an Invita­tion to Belonging Summer Institute, a one-week intensive workshop for teens and adults with and without disabilities, investigating the role the arts have in creating and sustaining inclusive com­munities.

Since 2010, 119 projects by 66 dif­ferent organizations have been funded, totaling $1,380,320. VSA Minnesota administers the ADA Access Improve­ment Grant program for the Metropoli­tan Regional Arts Council. Funds come from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The purpose is to enable nonprofit arts organizations in the sev­en-county Twin Cities area to improve their programs, projects, equipment, or facilities in ways that have the potential for significant or long-term impact in in­volving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.

Grant requests were reviewed and ranked by a panel of artists and commu­nity members. The next grant applica­tion deadline is May 1.


Three groups receive grants

The Minnesota Department of Em­ployment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced more than $500,000 in grants to provide innova­tive employment options to advance community integration for people with disabilities.

The grants are a result of a request for proposals issued by DEED’s Vocation­al Rehabilitation Services program to day training and habilitation providers. “These grants will provide additional job training for Minnesotans with disabili­ties,” said DEED Commissioner Shawn­tera Hardy. “Participants will have access to competitive, meaningful and sus­tained employment in their community.”

Grant funds will be used to improve individual employment outcomes by aligning programs, funding and policies to support people with disabilities to choose, secure and maintain competi­tive employment, including self-employ­ment, in integrated settings.

Organizations receiving the grants are Ally People Solutions of St. Paul, $174,872; Kaposia Inc. of Little Canada, $171,400 and Minnesota Diversified Ser­vices Inc., Minneapolis, $174,813

The 2016 Minnesota Legislature approved funding for the grants in part to help meet some of the employment goals of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan, which seeks to ensure that people with disabil­ities are living, learning, working and en­joying life in the most integrated setting.


Fraser matches challenge grant

Fraser, Minnesota’s largest and most experienced provider of autism services, has raised an additional $500,000 from foundations and individuals in the com­munity in order to receive a $500,000 challenge grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. The funds will support a new Fraser clinic in the Twin Cities east metro area, to meet demand there for autism and mental health services.

“This challenge grant will help us move to the next phase of building a new Fraser clinic in the east metro,” said Diane Cross, Fraser president and CEO. “We are now able to begin designing the building and look forward to serving more families.”


Lupus Foundation to dissolve

Just after celebrating 40 years’ service, the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota has announced plans to dissolve the organi­zation. The group under various names has provided support for people affected by lupus, and raised awareness about the disease since 1976.

“I must share the difficult news that our organization’s journey will be coming to an end due to increasingly unsustainable economic realities that we face. In short, we have made the very difficult decision to dissolve Lupus Foundation of Minnesota,” said Board Chairman Jason Price.

The process of shutting down the foundation is expected to wind up at the end of April. The board has ap­proved a dissolution plan, and started a process that will include needed legal reviews and a transfer of assets to a new organization.

Over the years the foundation has led many activities to raise funds for lupus research and to help those affected by the autoimmune disease. Price expressed thanks to the community on behalf of the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota board and staff. “As a person whose family is impacted by this chron­ic autoimmune disease, it remains my sincere hope that someday soon we will live in a world without lupus,” he said.


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