Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council Awards $163,500 in Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants to 25 Area Arts Organizations, Community Groups and Schools

    September 13th, 2019

    Eight Blue Earth County Groups Awarded $49,500 In Arts Grants

    The Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council is pleased to announce that grants of $163,500 from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund have been awarded to twenty-five arts organizations, community groups and schools in the region. This fund was created by the people of Minnesota to support the arts and preserve our heritage. The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, passed by the voters in 2008, created new resources for land conservation, water conservation, parks and the Arts.

    In Region Nine these grant funds were awarded to organizations to increase their artistic offerings and to provide a variety of activities including: arts and music festivals, instrumental and vocal music concerts, theater performances, school projects, visual art exhibitions, art classes, public art, etc. “Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants were awarded to each of these twenty-five non-profit organizations ranging from $4,000 to $7,000 for a total of $163,500,” noted Brenda Byron, PLRAC Executive Director.

    Eight Blue Earth County organizations received arts grants totaling $49,500. Kearney International Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato received $4,500 and will sponsor the Mankato Area International Festival, April 19, 2020. They will have several Minnesota based ethnic groups perform and have an educational space with high quality craft projects and performances specific for children. Funds will be used for artist fees and art supplies. Mankato and North Mankato ACT on Alzheimer’s received $7,000 and will sponsor the Singing Hills Chorus, a singing group made up of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their care partners. Funds will be used to facilitate the two chorus sessions and concerts. Fall rehearsals are September 12-December 12, with a December 14 concert. Spring rehearsals are January 30-May 7, 2020, with a concert on May 9, 2020. Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra received $7,000 and will present multiple concerts in fall 2019 and spring and summer 2020. Funds will be used for clinician sectionals for the orchestras, membership scholarships, mileage scholarships to students, director salaries, and venue rentals. Mankato Children’s Chorus received $7,000 and will present two concerts in the fall and spring of 2019-20 and perform at other special events. Funds will be used for directors’ salaries and student scholarships. Maple River Schools Instrumental Music received $4,000 and will host Dr. Quincy Hilliard for their Guest Composer/Conductor Project. On March 17-19, 2020, Dr. Hilliard will work with students in grades 5-12 and perform at the Music in our Schools Concert March 19. Funds will be used for artist fees, ethnic percussion instruments, in-state mileage and lodging. Merely Players Community Theatre received $7,000 and will present their 2019-2020 season of plays, including: “Annie”, November 8-10 and 15-17, 2019; and “Rex’s Exs”, May 8-10 and 15-17, 2020; held at Lincoln Community Center, Mankato. “Jesus Christ Super Star”, March 12-14 and 19-21, 2020 will be held at the Kato Ballroom, Mankato. Funds will used for artist fees, publicity, and production expenses. Minnesota Valley Chorale received $7,000 and will perform four concerts in Mankato for the 2019-2020 season; two winter concerts, November 23-24, including Mass in D Major by Antonin Dvorak and two spring concerts, April 18-19. Funds will be used for artist fees, membership scholarships, salaries, and concert venue costs. Musicorum received $6,000 and will present their season with two holiday concerts and one spring concert. Their first holiday concert will be on December 14 at Good Counsel Chapel, Mankato and the second concert will be on December 15, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, St. Peter. The spring concert will be on April 25, 2020 at Good Counsel Chapel in Mankato and will feature music and poetry of Charlie Leftridge, one of their singers. Funds will be used for the director’s salary, pay instrumentalists, publicity, venue rental, and to purchase music scores.

    Other grantees in the region include: Brown County–$14,000: Summit Avenue Music Series, $7,000 and State Street Theater Company, New Ulm $7,000. Faribault County–$7,000: Blue Earth Valley Concert Association $7,000. LeSueur County–$14,000: DalekoArts, New Prague $7,000 and Montgomery Area Community Club $7,000. Martin County–$14,000: Fairmont Opera House $7,000 and Martin County Preservation Association, Red Rock Center for the Arts $7,000. Nicollet County-$28,000: Arts Center of Saint Peter $7,000; Minnesota Valley Sweet Adelines $7,000; Saint Peter Choral Society $7,000; and South Central Service Cooperative $7,000. Sibley County–$16,000: Arlington Chamber of Commerce $5,000; La Grande Bande $7,000; and Minnesota New Country School $4,000. Waseca County–$21,000: Project GEM $7,000; Waseca Arts Council $7,000; and Waseca-LeSueur Regional Library $7,000.

    Applications from Non-profit Arts Organizations, Community Groups and Schools will be accepted twice a year and the next Arts and Cultural Heritage deadline is February 1, 2020. Small Arts Project Grants of up to $2,000 are available for smaller arts activities and the next deadline is October 1, 2019. With the addition of the Arts and Culture Heritage Funds every Minnesotan’s lives will be enriched by the arts no matter where you live. The citizens of Minnesota will have increased access to stronger and more stable arts organizations providing an increase in quality arts experiences.

    The Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council is committed to supporting and expanding the arts in the nine-county area; knowing that the Arts improve the quality of life in our region. Grant guidelines and a link to our online applications are available at or by contacting Brenda Byron, Executive Director, at the Prairie Lakes office in Waseca, 1-800-298-1254 or We serve a nine-county area including Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan Counties.

    PLRAC Grants
    Row 1: (L to R): Mark Wamma, Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra; Leah Ries, Mankato Children’s Chorus; Brenda Byron, PLRAC Executive Director; and Susan Olson, Merely Players Community Theatre. Row 2: Dave Stordahlen and Will Frame, Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra; Fred Slocum, Musicorum; Andy Reeves, Mankato Children’s Chorus; and Sara Traylor, Minnesota Valley Chorale.