I’m pleased to announce that I am a 2019 recipient of a 2019 Next Step Grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council in Minnesota, which includes funds to assist my first travel back to Laos in 16 years. I thank you all for your support and input on this significant project. Additionally, Lao American playwright Kaysone Syonesa was funded this year by the program, so that is another thing for all of us to look forward to.
On June 25, 2019 the MRAC board awarded a total of $176,717 to 36 individual artists in the FY 2019 Next Step Fund grant program. The Next Step Fund program, funded by the McKnight Foundation, is designed to help artists in the 7-county metropolitan region complete a project that will help them rise to the next level in their careers regardless of whether they are emerging artists or artists well established in their disciplines. Finalists were asked to submit work samples as background information and support for their Next Step project. Artists can work in any discipline and be at any stage of their artistic career, but must define a project that will help them advance to the next step in their artistic goals. The artistic discipline listed with each artist was self-selected by the artist at the time of application.
This year’s Next Step Fund saw 434 applications submitted and 71 second-round finalists named. Eighteen artists and arts administrators served as the panelists for this year’s grant review process.