MRAC awards grants to local arts groups

Four Anoka County arts organizations are the recipients of Metropolitan Regional Arts Council community arts grants.Area organizations receiving four of the 66 awards granted March 26 are: Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, $5,000; Blaine Parks and Recreation, $3,000; Fridley Community Theatre, $5,000; and Mississippi Valley Orchestra, $5,000.

Blaine Parks and Recreation will put funds received from an MRAC grant toward staging this year’s annual World Fest. File photo by Bill Jones

Blaine Parks and Recreation will put funds received from an MRAC grant toward staging this year’s annual World Fest. File photo by Bill Jones

The grants are part of a second round of MRAC’s Community Arts grant program, this time totaling $317,438.

MRAC grants have supported Banfill in making the center’s annual Art at Rice Creek festival happen, said Lia Rivamonte, former executive director of Banfill-Locke, who resigned at the end of March to pursue other work opportunities.

Rivamonte expressed relief in Banfill’s being named an award-winner because competition for the grants among small arts non profits has become more competitive, she said.

“We are really appreciative and excited because that means the arts festival will happen again in September,” she said.

Not only has MRAC been supportive with grants, but the organization helped Rivamonte with support and guidance when she first came to the center 13 years ago.

“So I really benefited from their wisdom,” Rivamonte said.

Blaine Parks and Rec will use the grant to fund part of the 2013 Blaine World Fest.

“We are very happy to receive this grant because the World Fest is supported by a grant and sponsorship and donations from local businesses,” said Tom Godfrey, Blaine’s park and recreation program supervisor.

“The money from the grant is used to hire entertainment/dance, food vendors and cultural booths.”

This year’s Blaine World Fest is slated for Saturday, Sept. 21 at Town Square Park.

Fridley Community Theatre will use the grant funds to stage its fourth annual summer musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Performances are in July at the Fridley High School auditorium.

The Mississippi Valley Orchestra will put its MRAC grant funds toward its second annual children’s concert. The concert will feature music from Disney’s “Fantasia.” Playwright, director and musician Anton Jones narrates. The concert will be performed at First Lutheran Church in Columbia Heights in June.

MRAC’s arts grant program uses a block grant system to ensure funds are broadly distributed in the seven-county metropolitan area.

“The organizations and projects chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a connection to a community,” according to an MRAC press release.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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