Six 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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