Author Sara Sternberger

Posted May 10, 2016

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Contact: Courtney Kupsch

National Endowment for the Arts Grant to Support Teaching Artist Series

MINNEAPOLIS (May 10, 2016)National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $15,000  to Free Arts Minnesota.  The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

Free Arts has previously obtained funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board, but the NEA grant is a first.  “Applying for an NEA grant can be a bit intimidating, so we were very happy to receive the good news,” says Sara Sternberger, Free Arts Minnesota executive director.  “This grant will help us bring more Teaching Artists to the youth we serve through our arts learning and mentoring programs.”

Free Arts partners with over 23 nonprofit organizations, such as homeless shelters, mental health treatment centers, recovery centers and daycares, to bring arts learning and mentorship to youth facing challenging circumstances.  In 2015, Free Arts served nearly 2,000 youth, utilizing over 400 caring adult volunteers and providing 12,000 hours of arts programming.

Through the Teaching Artist Series, Free Arts provides employment to local artists and places them within its partner sites for 3-12 weeks.  “Our youth still receive the benefit of working alongside our volunteers, but now they get exposure to professional artists across many mediums,” says Chelsea Unold, Free Arts partnerships coordinator.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Free Arts Minnesota offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

Free Arts works with a variety of professional artists in the community including mediums such as sculpture, screening, spoken word, photography, performance and visual arts.

About Free Arts Minnesota
Free Arts Minnesota inspires hope and builds self-esteem for youth who have experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse and mental illness, using the healing powers of artistic expression and caring adult mentors. Visit to learn more about the organization, hear the stories and see the art from the children, as well as learn how you can contribute or volunteer.