Lyric Arts theater receives state grant

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage is the recipient of a nearly $30,000 Minnesota State Arts Board grant.

The nonprofit community theater located in Anoka is among 154 grant recipients awarded funds totaling nearly $13.9 million to Minnesota organizations through the operating support program and the community arts schools and conservatories program.

Starting in 2014, Lyric Arts in a four-year cycle will receive the grant funds in the amount of $29,812 per year until 2017, according to Laura Tahja Johnson, managing artistic director of Lyric Arts.

The funds will support the theater’s general budget for operating expenses and “helping to ensure the arts thrive in Minnesota by providing a high quality of arts experience in Anoka County,” Tahja Johnson said.

The money will also be used to reach out to local schools and for after-school programs, she said.

The funds will help to keep the theater’s ticket prices affordable, Tahja Johnson said.

A goal of the arts board is to make art accessible to all Minnesotans.

“What’s beautiful about it (receiving the grant) is it provides a steady level of support,” Tahja Johnson said.

Formed in 1995 by Lin Schmidt and Phil Bologna, Lyric Arts Company of Anoka started out as the Pocket Theatre, a small performance space a few blocks up the road. But the theater outgrew its space and in 2001 opened Main Street Stage in its current location at 420 East Main St.

The theater offers a full season of live theater and music concerts featured in its “Music in the ‘Burbs” concert series.

The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency dedicated to ensuring that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to participate in the arts, according to its website.

The operating support grant program is funded by an appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature from the state’s general fund, the arts and cultural heritage fund and from the National Endowment for the Arts fund.

The community arts schools and conservatories program is funded from an appropriation from the state’s arts and cultural heritage fund.

The board offers grants, services and other resources to individuals and organizations throughout the state to foster and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts in the state. For more information on the Minnesota State Arts Board, visit

For more information about Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, visit

Elyse Kaner is at
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