Ranked Nonprofits: Local Access to Art and Culture 2012

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“I believe that the arts in Minnesota are a very important part of our quality of life. …The arts help us to realize who we are, to celebrate our individuality. They are in the best way, an affirmation of ourselves.” -Governor Rudy Perpich
“I believe that the arts in Minnesota are a very important part of our quality of life. …The arts help us to realize who we are, to celebrate our individuality. They are in the best way, an affirmation of ourselves.” -Governor Rudy Perpich

The Cause: Minnesota is a pioneer state in providing funding to the arts sector. In 2008, Minnesota voters passed the Legacy Amendment. The Amendment increases sales tax by three-eighths of one percent to distribute to four funds, including the Arts and Cultural Fund (ACHF)which receives 19.75% of overall Legacy funding. Despite Minnesota’s demonstrated commitment to the arts and the existing arts infrastructure, many groups are still under-represented in the arts. Organizations across Minnesota are working to address those disparities.

The Scope: Minnesota experts working in the field of access to arts and culture were asked to recommend nonprofit organizations working to increase access to art and culture in various ways. Experts identified up to four nonprofits doing high-impact work across the state of Minnesota, and up to two start-up nonprofits that have the potential to do high-impact work. Nonprofits increase access to art and culture through one or more of the following actions: increasing arts and culture opportunities for populations who don’t traditionally have access to the arts, directly supporting artists, supporting under-resourced types of arts, providing opportunities for non-arts people to participate in the arts. We asked experts to consider traditional arts organizations, arts funders, policy and advocacy organizations, organizations that teach art and non-arts nonprofits that utilize art to accomplish their social service goals. Additionally, we asked experts to consider organizations across a range of arts disciplines. Read more about the scope of this research here: http://www.myphilanthropedia.org/blog/2012/02/21/nonprofit-research-on-access-to-arts-and-culture-in-minnesota/

This research was commissioned by Minnesota Philanthropy Partners for its free, bi-annual magazine, MNSights. The Minnesota Philanthropy Partners network includes The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation and more than 1,700 additional charitable affiliates.


124 Local Access to Art and Culture experts recommended the following 18 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.


Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2012 Springboard for the Arts
Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Our work is about building stronger communities, neighborhoods, and economies, and we believe that artists are an important leverage point in that work. Springboard for the Arts' mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life.
2 Medal-small-2012 Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is a statewide arts advocacy organization that organizes the arts community to lobby the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress. Our mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts.
3 Medal-small-2012 Mixed Blood Theatre Company (MBT)
Mixed Blood Theatre Company, a professional, multi-racial company, promotes cultural pluralism and individual equality through artistic excellence, using theater to address artificial barriers that keep people from succeeding in American society.
4 Medal-small-2012 Intermedia Arts
Intermedia Arts is a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art. As Minnesota’s premier multidisciplinary, multicultural arts center, Intermedia Arts builds understanding among people by catalyzing and inspiring artists and audiences to make changes in their lives and communities. We are a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. From graffiti art to digital technology to performance art to spoken word, we work from the community up to unearth and enliven new and emerging artists and art forms while challenging and exploring the role of art in our lives. By stimulating civic dialogue and giving voice to the issues and experiences of underrepresented communities locally, nationally and internationally, we contribute to a stronger, healthier society.
5 Medal-small-2012 VSA Minnesota
VSA Minnesota's mission is to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts.
6 Medal-small-2012 COMPAS
COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts) is a nationally-recognized provider of arts education programs that powers imaginations, learning, and life with the arts! Its mission is to enable people to experience and create the arts by connecting communities, cultures and artists.
7 Medal-small-2012 Ten Thousand Things
Ten Thousand Things brings lively, intelligent theater to people with little access to the wealth of the arts—who in turn help us to re-imagine theater.
8 Medal-small-2012 In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre is dedicated to performing puppet and mask theatre for the entertainment of audiences of all ages and cultures, creating a sense of community among performers and audiences, and building a vital and healthy culture through art, festivity and play.
9 Medal-small-2012 Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.
10 Medal-small-2012 Pillsbury United Communities (PUC)
Pillsbury United Communities is a nonprofit organization working to create choice, change and connection for people from all walks of life. With multiple locations in Minneapolis' inner city neighborhoods – including four neighborhood centers and a professional live theatre – Pillsbury United Communities is positioned to address the complicated issues and concerns faced by the more than 35,000 people who walk through our doors each year. A descendant of the Settlement House Movement, Pillsbury United Communities recognizes the complex causes and effects of social and economic inequalities and works to effect positive change by connecting individuals and building meaningful relationships. Programs offered are not about hand-outs or charity, but encourage give-and-take relationships between members of the community and Pillsbury United Communities. The agency emphasizes people over programs – yet recognizes that programs are an important part of addressing inequalities. When the agency was founded in 1879, services offered included a day nursery for working families and mothers, a health clinic, industrial training, and sewing classes. The agency’s 200 staff often live in the neighborhoods where they work and are passionate about helping the community and its members grow and solve the challenges they face. Pillsbury United Communities builds better communities by helping individuals find the means to help themselves.
11 Medal-small-2012 Mu Performing Arts
The mission of Mu Performing Arts is born of two needs: the need to gain due recognition and acceptance as Asian Americans in 21st century America, and the need to facilitate a clearer understanding of our identity and responsibilities within our own diverse community.
12 Medal-small-2012 Juxtaposition Arts
Juxtaposition Arts develops community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power.
13 Medal-small-2012 Forecast Public Artworks
The mission of Forecast Public Artworks is to strengthen and advance the field of public art locally, nationally and internationally by expanding participation, supporting artists, informing audiences and assisting communities.
14 Medal-small-2012 Bedlam Theatre
The mission of Bedlam Theatre is to produce radical works of theater with a focus on collaboration and a unique blend of professional and community art.
15 Medal-small-2012 Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts
In all of their work, Interact Center for the Arts: creates art in a spirit of radical inclusion; inspires artists and audiences to explore the full spectrum of human potential; and transforms lives by expanding ideas of what is possible.
16 Medal-small-2012 Northern Clay Center (NCC)
Northern Clay Center's mission is the advancement of the ceramic arts. Ongoing programs include exhibitions by contemporary regional, national and international ceramic artists, as well as historical and architectural ceramics; classes and workshops for children and adults at all skill levels; studio space and grants for artists; and a sales gallery representing many top ceramic artists from the region and elsewhere.
17 Medal-small-2012 Project SUCCESS
Project SUCCESS motivates and inspires young people to dream about the future, helps them take steps to get there and gives them the tools they need to achieve their goals.
18 Medal-small-2012 TU Dance
TU Dance is one of the nation’s newest non-profit professional dance organizations. Founded in 2004, the Minnesota-based company reaches across dance styles, drawing on a broad range of dance traditions from contemporary ballet to modern and traditional forms. TU Dance’s work aims to reveal the connective power of dance, celebrating a beautiful diversity on stage.


Check out all nonprofit reviews for Local Access to Art and Culture (Minnesota).

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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3121 experts to provide reviews on 751 top nonprofits across 46 causes.