CMAB FY2016 Annual Report

The CMAB completed its 35th year serving Region 7W as its designated Regional Arts Council. Download the CMAB FY 2018 Annual Report to see the amount of grant funds invested into Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties during the 2017 Fiscal year. FY17 Annual Report

CMAB 2018-2019 Biennial Plan

CMAB Executive Summary
Established in 1979 as a non-profit arts organization, the Central Minnesota Arts Board increases access to the arts by providing grant opportunities and services throughout Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties (Region 7W) as one of eleven Regional Arts Councils in Minnesota.
Ten years ago Region 7W had the fourth largest population in the state among the eleven regions, however, our rapid population growth now places us as the third largest, surpassing Region 3 by over 90,000 residents as indicated by 2015 population estimates.

The region is home to a number of diverse cultures, including refugees and a large population of Somali immigrants.  A priority in developing our plan for the coming two years focused on engagement and access with under-served populations in mind.

Features unique to the CMAB

  1. Teaching Artist Roster Program: The CMAB continues to build our Teaching Artist Roster through a training collaborative with the Paramount Arts Center and Elk River High School (a Perpich Center Arts Education Regional Center), a seven-week training designed to assist artists with converting their disciplines into curriculum for artist residencies in schools, organizations & communities
  2. – The CMAB provides administration for this region wide arts & culture interactive web-calendar where arts enthusiasts can find arts events, classes, and entertainment in the four counties served.
  3. Student Arts Scholarships- The CMAB awards scholarships to individuals seeking their first undergraduate degree in an arts-related field.  Applicants must be residents of Region 7W, but may attend college or university anywhere. Scholarship funds can only be used for education costs that can be charged directly to the institution such as tuition, room and board, books, lessons, and other educational expenses.

Mission & Vision Statement
MISSION: Investing in the Arts throughout Benton, Stearns, Sherburne & Wright Counties

VISION: Over the next four years the CMAB will:

  • Help to foster a thriving, collaborative and innovative arts community through partnerships and financial support.
  • Strive for excellence in leadership and the responsible distribution of arts funding.
  • Increase the quality of life in our region by engaging residents in the arts, enhancing education and improving arts access.
  • Nurture artists’ professional needs and expand opportunities for them to create, showcase and profit from their work.


  • Creativity and Artistic Integrity: The CMAB recognizes excellence in free and innovative artistic expression as integral to the intellectual and creative development of everyone. We value these qualities as principal criteria for our support to local organizations and individuals.
  • Accessibility and Diversity: The CMAB is committed to supporting a variety of artistic programs that serve many cultures, ages, genders and artistic disciplines in order to encourage a dialog of respect and understanding.
  • Civic Engagement: The CMAB believes a strong artistic presence is central to building healthy communities and is committed to promoting the positive economic and social impacts of the arts.
  • Lifelong Learning through the Arts: The CMAB values opportunities for collaborations between artists, educators and community to convey artistic viewpoints in all disciplines of learning.
  • Corporate Accountability: The CMAB provides fair, professional and transparent support to organizations and individuals through distribution of funds in an ethical and legal manner open to public review and discourse.

Needs Assessment results Summary
• Review criteria is unclear
• Could there be mandatory deductions [during grant application reviews]- for budget issues, etc- how to standardize scores?
• How do people apply and get on the board?
• Lots of Cultural Data Project (CDP) questions, requirements are daunting
• Interest in Internships, and the role that students can play in organizations
• Business skills are a consistent need
• How to avoid board member/volunteer burnout?
• Board development/recruitment- there’s room for different organizations to share their experiences, ideas, best practices
• Intra-organizational competition hinders collaboration
• How to encourage collective workshop sessions that enable organizations to discuss best practices in a way that feels safe; • How to remove competition, mistrust, etc.
• Arts group/org mixer-Similar to Chamber of Commerce event. 
• Would we want to have a nomination for arts administrator of the year, etc?

Racial Equity/Access Committee:
• Offer general information in other languages (Spanish, Somali)
• Have copies of exemplary applications available on the CMAB website
• Simplify Application- Allow individuals to apply using video or audio- reduce the number of questions
• Create a specific project based program for cultural recovery, new applicants, or groups led by/for people of colo (POC)r, recruit POC specifically to participate in the next round of Teaching Artist Roster Program (TARP)
• Consider a tiered system for project grants - quick start,  mid-range, established
• Matching funds will always be a barrier to some groups [consider allowing in-kind]
• Optional requirements disadvantage groups with less capacity- avoid this practice
• Increase and diversify outreach and support efforts
• Hold a celebration featuring diverse regional artists in a new location -i.e.Tuscan center? 
• Identify multiple partners and do intentional and personal outreach
• Consider new venues/formats for workshops
• Multi-session project development workshop- through community Ed or similar
• Train board members/panelists to be conscious of bias
• Review Criteria for statements that imply or deny bias

CMAB Biennial planning process

  1. Feedback from artists and arts organizations is an ongoing part of CMAB's planning and development - this comes from final reports, conversations at community meetings and through one-on-one interactions with applicants and constituents. When possible and practical, changes are implemented in the midst of a biennium if applicants or constituents bring forth actionable ideas or concerns. Numerous changes have been implemented in FY 16-17 and more are being implementing in the FY 17-18 biennium in response to feedback from the various needs assessments conducted.
  2. Targeted outreach varies depending on the group's needs.   A racial equity and access committee met four times over the course of four months to discuss the needs and experiences of people of color and immigrants in our region.
  3. Artist needs surveys were sent electronically and submitted over the course of two months. This particular survey focused on professional development wants and needs for individual artists.
  4. Public forums held in Big Lake and St. Joseph in 2015 produced feedback that was instructive in the FY16-17 biennium, but we are prepared to make further changes and adjustments to our programs and processes in FY18-19 based on feedback gathered at these meetings.  Conversations and final report feedback in the interim years echoed some of the needs expressed in the 2015 forums.
  5. Summaries of these various assessments were presented at the CMAB biennial planning retreat, held on January 27th, 2017 at Russel's in Big Lake.  With the help of a facilitator, CMAB directors and staff participated in a number of generative exercises intended to guide CMAB toward changes, adjustments and solutions for needs and issues facing CMAB and our constituents. 
  6. Based on the work done at the biennial planning retreat, staff and board have determined specific changes to programs, policies and procedures that will result in better service to our region and more efficient workflow.

Grant Programs

Project Grants
Funds to increase access to arts focused events throughout the region. Maximum grant of $7,000 with a 25% match required. Portion of match may be specific types of in-kind.

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Community Need, Ability, Outcomes & Evaluation.
Funded by: General Fund, Arts Access, Arts Ed, Arts and Cultural Heritage

• Nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations
• Arts groups without nonprofit designation that have the arts as a primary focus and use a fiscal agent
• NonProfit organizations that do not have arts as a primary focus, such as schools, senior centers, community education, cultural groups and colleges
•  Local governments (city, township and county)

Artist in Residency Grants
Funds in support of a unique arts experience that ties in to a lesson plan or curriculum. The intention of any residency proposal must be to increase interaction between students, community members and professional artists. Maximum grant $3,500 with no match required.

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Community Need, Ability, Outcomes and Evaluation
Funded by:  Arts Access, Arts Ed, Arts and Cultural Heritage

• Nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations
• Arts groups without nonprofit designation that have the arts as a primary focus and use a fiscal agent
• Non Profit organizations that do not have arts as a primary focus, such as schools, senior centers, community education, cultural groups and colleges

Community Art Support Grants
General operating support for Nonprofit Arts Organizations with a minimum of two years of service to the community.  Funds of up to $10,000 or 20% of the last fiscal year’s annual operating expense will be awarded per fiscal year in a two-year granting cycle.  These funds may be used for administrative, operating and capital expenditures. Program available in even-numbered fiscal years.

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Community Need and Org. Ability.  
Funded by:  Arts Access

• Nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations that do not receive general operating support from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
• Applicants must have annual operating expenses below $250,000

Capital Grants to Schools and Nonprofits
Public Schools, instructing some, or all, of grades K-12 and nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations that have the arts as a primary focus, may apply for up to $3,500 in 25% matching funds for capital purchases that enhance the schools’ art curriculum. 

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Need and Ability
Funded by: General Fund and Arts Access

• A school is eligible to receive a grant once within two fiscal years

Student Arts Scholarships
Funding for students pursuing an arts-related major in college. $1,500 maximum. Students must be seeking their 1st undergraduate degree and may be awarded a maximum of 4 Student Arts Scholarships in a lifetime.

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality and applicant Ability.
Funded by: General Fund

• Recipients must enroll full-time at an accredited institution with a major in an arts related field.

Organizational Development Grants
Funds to support staff and board development through workshops and conferences or by hiring a facilitator to focus on specific needs such as board governance, strategic issues, resource development, financial planning, volunteer management, etc. Emerging arts organizations may apply for funds to support the process of obtaining 501c-3 status. Applicants may receive up to $1000 in grant funds during a CMAB fiscal year. 

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Need and Ability. 
Funded by: General Fund and Arts Access

• Nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations
• Arts groups without nonprofit designation that have the arts as a primary focus and use a fiscal agent.
• Arts groups without 501c-3 status may only apply to this program to support costs associated with establishing 501c-3 status.

Public Art Grants
Funds for the creation and installation/implementation of temporary and permanent art works that are free and open to the public. There is no maximum grant amount for this program. Grants are based on project needs and available resources.  Requests must include 20% matching funds from non-CMAB sources. 

Evaluated on Artistic Merit and Quality, Need, Ability and Outcomes and Evaluation.
Funded by: Arts Access, Arts Ed, and Arts and Cultural Heritage

• Nonprofit 501© (3) arts organizations
• Arts groups without nonprofit designation that have the arts as a primary focus and use a fiscal agent
• Non Profit organizations that do not have arts as a primary focus, such as schools, senior centers, community education, cultural groups and colleges
• Public schools

Grants to Individuals
Grants & Services Supported Primarily with funding from The McKnight Foundation

Individual Artist Awards
To reward, recognize and encourage outstanding individual artists, up to seven artists will be chosen to receive $3,500 each. The CMAB will promote the artists' work through media, various events and on the CMAB website.

Artist Career Development Program
provides grants up to $3,000 for the purpose of career development and artistic achievement. Successful proposals will communicate a clearly defined set of activities that respond to a compelling challenge or opportunity for the individual applicant.   

Artist Learning Grant
Provide funding of up to $500 for artists to attend a class, training or workshop as a means of professional development.

Teaching Artist Roster Program
collaboration between the CMAB and the Paramount Arts Resource Trust.  The vision for this program is to train and support Teaching Artists to provide quality arts learning experiences in and through the arts by sharing their own experiences and processes with students of all ages.

Grant Writing and opportunities workshops- Held in various locations throughout the region to inform current and potential applicants about CMAB grant opportunities and how to apply.  In an effort to encourage new applicants and increase the accessibility of CMAB programs, we are developing a new multi-session workshop that will more closely guide applicants through the process of applying to a CMAB program. Funded by State, Legacy & McKnight funds.

Teaching Artist Roster Program- Held in even-numbered fiscal years, this program provides a cohort of 5-7 regional artists with an opportunity to reflect on their relationship to art making and connect with opportunities to provide arts education by sharing their work and their process. Artists apply to this program through a format very similar to other CMAB applications. Selected applicants are interviewed before being invited to participate in the program.  Funded by the McKnight Foundation

Individual Artist Workshops- focused on a variety of topics driven by artist input, available presenters and community needs, open to the public and typically free of charge, participants can register to guarantee a seat. Funded by The McKnight Foundation.

Teaching Artist Showcase
- Teaching Artists are invited to demonstrate, display their work, lesson plan examples, examples of student work and present any promotional materials they may have in an art-fair type setting.  The showcase is promoted specifically to teachers and organizations, which may host an artist in residency, but also to the general public.  Teaching Artist Showcases are produced and promoted in partnership with the Paramount Center for the Arts and the ISD 728 Regional Arts Partner [Perpich Arts Agency].  Artists on the CMAB Teaching Artist Roster are invited about one week before other teaching artists and so they have priority to claim between 8 and 12 first-come first-served table spots.  Funded by The McKnight Foundation

Individual Artist Showcase - Each year at the June art crawl in St. Cloud, CMAB features artists who have received individual awards and grants from The McKnight Foundation.  Artists are provided an 8 foot table and surrounding space, signage with their name and artist statement and printed postcards advertising the event.  Artists can sell and promote their work with no commission fee.  Funded by The McKnight Foundation

Artist Registry – artists may create a profile and be listed on an artist registry on the CMAB web site – an interactive community arts and culture calendar where artists and organizations may post event listings for free.  CMAB administers this website and ensures that all events funded by CMAB are listed on the calendar.

Media Releases – sent promptly to various media outlets after awards are determined for CMAB grant programs

Panel Gifts – CMAB staff purchase small items from local artists which are provided as gifts for grant panel reviewers.  Items purchased must remain under a maximum price point and a limited amount of work is purchased from any single artist. We love this practice because it serves artists by supporting and promoting their work, panelists leave with a memorable piece or art and the opportunity to learn about an artist in our region, and we are able to express our gratitude to volunteers through interesting and appropriate gifts, which they select.

CMAB website – Our homepage features samples of work from Individual Artist Award winners and projects from the region.

Work-Plan Priorities
TOP GOALS As stated on the MN State Arts Board Website: "In order to realize our legacy vision, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Minnesota's regional arts councils must work together to accomplish the following goals":

    1. The arts are interwoven into every facet of community life.
    2. Minnesotans believe the arts are vital to who we are.
    3. People of all ages, ethnicity, and abilities participate in the arts.
    4. People trust Minnesota's stewardship of public arts funding.
    5. The arts thrive in Minnesota.

Priority 1.  Diversity 

Statewide Goal #3.  People of all ages, ethnicity, and abilities participate in the arts

Objectives: Increase the number of successful applicants and volunteer reviewers coming from a variety of underserved groups such as- rural areas in Region 7W, people of color, specific ethnic groups, etc.   We will begin this work by intentionally collecting better and more-detailed demographic data on our applicants and reviewers so we can establish a baseline for this objective.

Outcome: As a result of targeted outreach, communities of color and people living in underserved geographic areas of Region 7W will see an increase in CMAB funded projects that serve their communities.

Indicators: Over the course of the biennium, success will be indicated by an increase in numbers of applicants and panel members who identify as people of color, and/or who belong to communities that have received two or fewer CMAB grants within a fiscal year. 

Evaluation Methods: Evaluation will occur through tracking demographic information from grant applications in all CMAB programs and collecting the same information from panelists.

Priority 2.  Creative Risk Taking

Statewide Goals #1. The arts are interwoven into every facet of community life. #2. Minnesotans believe the arts are vital to who we are. #5. The arts thrive in Minnesota.

Objectives: Encourage applicants to pursue projects and initiatives that stretch their audiences, artists and students in creative ways.

Outcome: As a result of criteria focused on creative risk and education and outreach focused on the topic of risk and creativity, Region 7W arts administrators and artists  attempt new approaches to making, presenting and engaging audiences in their work.

Indicators: Over the FY18-19 biennium, success will be indicated by an increase of proposals that support new mediums, approaches to art making and serve new audiences. 

Evaluation: Evaluation will occur through identifying and tracking features of proposals that constitute creative risks for applicants.

Priority 3. Accountability

Statewide Goals: # 4. People trust Minnesota's stewardship of public arts funding. #5. The arts thrive in Minnesota

Objectives: Increase applicant and board accountability through a variety of measures:
1. The addition of a final review stage for Project Grant and Community Arts Support Applications where board members will consider geographic location, past performance of previous grantees, and unique features of projects, applicants or communities served.
2. Standardize and continue the practice of auditing at least two grant proposals each fiscal year.

Outcomes: As a result of increased accountability measures in CMAB grantmaking decisions and administration, MN legislators, grantees and the general public continue to have confidence in the CMAB granting processes.

Indicators: Success will be indicated by a clearly defined set of final review criteria for Project Grants and Community Art Support Programs. Also, by the implementation of at least three grant audits to ensure applicant accountability.

Evaluation: Evaluation will occur through review of grant audits and tracking award outcomes following the implementation of additional review procedures.

Grant Making and Monitoring Process

Grant Writing Workshops focused on assisting residents in understanding the application process are held in a variety of locations each year.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the CMAB office for one-on-one assistance if needed.

Before an application is submitted, a draft review can be requested. Requests must be submitted via email ( or fax (320-968-4291) on or before the posted draft review deadline for a program. A review of the application does not guarantee that the request will be funded. Draft reviews are not a required part of the application process.

Once the CMAB receives the application, staff will verify eligibility. Applications will be sent to the CMAB Board of Directors or volunteer Panel Reviewers at least two weeks prior to the in-person meeting date. Review of eligible applications typically takes place within one month of the deadline. Check the CMAB website for draft review deadlines, application deadlines, and board review dates. All applicants will be notified of the Board’s decision.

During the review process a scoring system is used. Each application will receive a score from each reviewer on a scale from 0 (low) to 30 (high). An applicant must attain an average score of at least 15 to be considered for funding.

In final review (for Project Grant and Community Arts Support applications) CMAB directors will consider an applicant’s grant history, dollars awarded to an applicant within the current biennium, geographic distribution of funds, historically underserved demographics and first-time applicants.

*Grant history considerations include failure to comply with contract agreements, and serious grant audit findings. Directors will consider grant history up to two fiscal years prior to the year of the application

A warded grantees must sign an online contractual agreement within 30 days of notification. Failure to provide any required documents can result in the cancellation of a grant commitment.

Note: If funds are refused within 45 days of receipt of grant notification, they will be offered to the next applicant in rank order. Returned funds or funds refused after 45 days will be applied to future grant rounds.

Note: If application is approved, the funds must be expended within 12 months of the approval date.

All grant contracts contain the following content modified to fit the appropriate program:

To indicate acceptance and remain eligible for the CMAB Grants, the grant recipient’s authorizing official must electronically sign within 30 days from the date of this contract.

All future grants are contingent upon compliance with the following terms:

Grant Check: Once the contract is signed the grant check will be issued. The CMAB needs at least two weeks notice to process payments. Grant checks must be cashed within 30 days of the date on the check or it, and the contract, will be void.

NOTE: Grantee must provide the CMAB with copies of all internally generated advertising materials and programs with the final report. Non-compliance may affect future CMAB funding.

Organization Mission and Management of Grant Funds: The grantee will be legally responsible for the proper management of the grant funds. The organization’s activities and mission will be carried out in compliance with the description provided in the grant application. Any significant revisions in the organization’s mission must be communicated to the CMAB in advance and in writing. In the event that the organization ceases to do business or becomes insolvent within the fiscal year of the award, the entire grant award must be returned to the CMAB.

Final Report and Record Maintenance: The grantee will maintain records for three years documenting the use of grant funds. An accurate Final Report must be submitted to the CMAB, using the online form no later than the date identified in the contract. If the report is late any remaining grant funds will be withheld and the grantee will be ineligible for any future grant rounds until the report is filed.

Discrimination and Persons with Disabilities: The grantee agrees to comply with all applicable laws relating to nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Access to participate in the organization’s programming will not be limited on the basis of national origin, race, religion, age or sex. The grantee will also comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Contract Termination: The grant contract may be terminated at any time upon written request of the grantee, but such termination does not necessarily relieve the grantee of the responsibilities set forth in the grant contract. The CMAB may terminate a grant contract at any time upon the failure of the grantee to comply with one or more of the conditions of this contract, or a grant contract may be terminated at any time by mutual agreement.

Public Information: All information provided by the grantee through the original application, final report, or any other documented communication between the CMAB and the grantee becomes public information and may be shared in reports, news releases or other means for promotional purposes.

Certification: “I understand the terms of this contract. The CMAB reserves the right to audit the financial records of organizations that receive CMAB grant funds. I may be required to submit a certified audit report of the organization funded by the CMAB. I understand that future grants will be contingent upon complete compliance with the terms of this contract.”

CMAB Acknowledgement: Because it is so important for the public to understand that tax dollars are returning to their communities and due to Minnesota state law requirements, the following acknowledgement statement must appear on all internally generated advertising and promotion referencing the funded event such as programs, posters, flyers, press releases, etc. Oral acknowledgement is always recommended, but required during any event that does not have a printed program and during interviews with the news media. All written or oral acknowledgments must use the following:

Arts Legacy Funds: “This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Central MN Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
State General Funds: This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Central MN Arts Board with funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature from its general fund.

” (A shorter version will not be accepted. Wording may not be changed in any way.)

Minnesota law also requires that all recipients of Legacy funds with a website display the official Legacy Logo along with the appropriate acknowledgement on their website indicating the source/partial source of financial support for the organization/project. Under the contract, the CMAB Logo must also be displayed on the website.

A final report must be submitted within sixty (60) days of the project’s completion for the payment of any remaining grant funds. Failure to submit a final report without prior request for an extension may result in the applicant being ineligible to apply for any future CMAB grants until the final report is received.

Any applicant who can show cause that established grant review procedures were not followed, or that the policies of the program were not equitable to all applicants, may file an appeal in writing within ten (10) business days of being notified of the CMAB board’s decision.

The Executive Committee of the CMAB will review the appeal prior to the next scheduled board meeting. The Executive Committee will determine if there exists sufficient cause for an appeal and if further investigation is warranted. If the Executive Committee finds that there is cause for an appeal, they will bring the matter before board for a final decision. There is no right of appeal to dispute decisions in respect to artistic quality or merit, ability or need.

Public Meeting – To Gather Feedback on Biennial Plan draft
April 25th, 2017 at the St Cloud Great River Region Library, 4pm - 6pm