Sparked by the murder of George Floyd, the world joined Minneapolis in an unprecedented reckoning with centuries of systemic and structural racism. In the midst of peaceful protests, destruction of property, violent police response, and an ongoing pandemic, people across the globe saw Twin Cities artists responding to racial injustice through their artwork. Many have painted now-iconic murals on boarded-up windows; others are volunteering, organizing relief efforts, advocating for their communities, and taking actions to advance difficult conversations while developing new work and seeking opportunities to further their artistic practices.
Much of the artistic labor of artists of color, and Black and Indigenous artists in particular, often goes uncompensated. This disparity, paired with the tremendous economic losses the pandemic has inflicted on freelancers and artists with day jobs, has created unprecedented stress and uncertainty within the arts community.
In response, Midway has secured an additional $100,000 in funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which will be made available as $10,000 VAF Community Relief Grants for artist-organized projects. In early May, the Visual Arts Fund awarded Emergency Relief Grants to 60 Twin Cities artists suffering economic losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and shutdown; this new round of funding will add to that earlier relief effort. Grants will support artist-organized projects within the neighborhoods most impacted by the recent unrest, where communities are advocating for change.
The Visual Arts Fund is a grant program established in 2016 by Midway Contemporary Art with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Minneapolis–Saint Paul is one of fourteen metro areas included in Warhol’s Regional Regranting Program, which is aimed at promoting vibrant artistic activity in cities across the United States.
The Visual Arts Fund typically awards $60,000 ($5,000 and $10,000 grants) to artist organized projects in the Twin Cities metro region. The VAF supports the development of projects and initiatives that engage the public with visual art, and seeks to support a wide array of innovative and diverse projects that otherwise might not occur.
The 2021 Visual Arts Fund grant cycle will resume its regular schedule; information on the application and deadlines will be posted in spring of 2021.
The Regional Regranting Program, launched in 2007, aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar and self-organized artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. Midway is one of fourteen organizations to host The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting program, making funding available for artists in the Twin Cities metro area.
Fifteen additional programs have been developed and facilitated by organizations in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Saint Louis, San Francisco, and Washington DC, each providing grants for the creation and public presentation of new work in their regions.
The VAF Community Relief Grant program will offer $10,000 grants to 10 artist-organized projects that serve artists and communities in North Minneapolis and areas of South Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Project proposals must name two Co-Lead Organizers who live within Hennepin and Ramsey counties; priority will be given to projects with Black, Indigenous, and POC Lead Organizers living and working within the eligible neighborhoods.
The VAF Community Relief Grant program seeks to fund artist-organized projects that offer opportunities for artists to engage the community, using their skills to provide experiences, content, materials, activities, platforms, etc, which amplify the momentum of the current moment to further racial equality and justice. The program seeks to support artists through these projects by offering financial relief through fair pay for their time and involvement.
Projects could include exhibitions of artworks created by artists living in the eligible neighborhoods; workshops or public programs focused on racial justice and equality; the creation of care, activity, or supply packages to be disbursed within the community; platforms for artists and community members to tell stories, process, and be heard; and other activities that are related to the visual arts.
Project activities should be publicly accessible with no fees or other barriers to participate. Co-Lead Organizers are encouraged to budget up to $1,500 each as a stipend for their time organizing as well as fair pay for all others involved in producing the project.
Download a PDF of the VAF Community Relief Grant information listed on this page:
These guidelines can be made available in alternative formats or languages. To accommodate your request, please contact us at [email protected] or (612) 605-4504.
Projects must engage visual artists and communities with a focus on relief, rebuilding, equality, justice, and fair pay for artists involved with producing the project. Eligible areas include North Minneapolis; South Minneapolis including the Central, Bryant, Bancroft, Powderhorn Park, Corcoran, Lyndale, Whittier, East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, West Phillips, Ventura Village, Cedar-Riverside, Seward, and Longfellow neighborhoods; and St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway, Frogtown/Thomas-Dale, Rondo, Payne-Phalen, Dayton’s Bluff, and Greater East Side neighborhoods.
Projects must adhere to Covid-19 safety precautions and restrictions to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved; this includes wearing masks, providing space for social distancing, and limiting groups to the size authorized by the Minnesota Department of Health. Priority will be given to projects that are not solely dependent on online/virtual engagement.
Project activities must function primarily within, or have a strong connection to, the visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, social practice, performance, film/video, photography, textiles, ceramics, cross-disciplinary, public art, etc.)
Projects must take place between August 1st, 2020 and July 31st, 2021
Co-organizers must live within Hennepin and Ramsey counties; priority will be given to projects with BIPOC Lead Organizers living and working in the eligible areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Lead organizers may only submit one application
Currently enrolled students may only apply with a non-student Co-Lead Organizer
Applicants do not need to be US Citizens but at least one of the Co-Lead Organizers must have a social security number to receive payment
All past VAF project grant and VAF Emergency Relief Grant recipients are eligible to apply for a VAF Community Relief Grant
501c3s, commercial galleries, and incorporated businesses are not eligible to apply
Download a PDF of Frequently Asked Questions:
Please email [email protected] or call (612) 605-4504 if you have additional questions about the program.
We encourage you to call if you would like to discuss your idea or have specific inquiries related to the eligibility of your project proposal.
Following the close of the grant application on August 1st, a panel of four artists, including Alex Buffalohead, Christopher Harrison, Pao Houa Her, and Jonathan Herrera Soto, will review the applications for eligibility and priorities.
Panelists will consider each eligible proposal in the areas of Community Impact, Creative Impact, Artistic Excellence, and Feasibility.
Grant recipients will be notified the second week of August. Co-Lead Organizers must determine which of the two will manage the funding and complete a provided W9. Funding will be disbursed in two payments, the first half up front and the second half once the project activity has begun. Grant funds may be disbursed electronically via PayPal or by mailed check.
The 2020 VAF Community Relief Grant application has closed.
Grantees will be announced in late August.
The application included the following six sections:
Co-Lead Organizers must live within Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Please provide the following information for each Co-Lead Organizer:
Describe your project (max 100 words for each question):
Visual support materials should help the review panel understand the project and your ability to realize it.
For each of your support materials, please include a description and relevant explanatory notes (max 50 words per entry). Please provide between 5–10 visual examples, including:
Please provide a short bio for each of your lead organizers, as well as any key collaborators and artists (up to 5 bios, max 100 words each). Focus on experience relevant to this project.
Please list expenses for your project. This program supports fair pay for all artists involved with your project; Co-Lead Organizers may budget up to $1,500 each for their time organizing the project.
You are not expected to have additional income for the project outside of the Visual Arts Fund grant, but please indicate it if you plan to do additional fundraising and what your goals are. Your budget must show a zero balance between your Expenses and Income.