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Cowles Center named new home for dance and choreography fellowships

May 26, 2015

AFlogo_TO_2C_S_240pxThe McKnight Foundation has named The Cowles Center For Dance & The Performing Arts as the new administering partner for the McKnight Artist Fellowships in Dance and Choreography.  

“As home to more than 20 performing arts organizations, the Cowles Center has grown into a flagship for dance in Minnesota and a great match for the stewarding of these fellowships,” said McKnight president Kate Wolford.  

The Cowles Center opened its doors in 2011 with a mission to serve as a catalyst for the creation, performance, education and celebration of dance and the performing arts. Its building unites the renovated, historic Shubert Center, a 500-seat theater now specifically designed for the needs of dance and the former Hennepin Center for the Arts into a single center in service of the performing arts community. “The Cowles Center is honored to become the home for the prestigious McKnight Fellowships for Dancers and Choreographers,” says Lynn Von Eschen, executive director of The Cowles Center. “As we continue to develop programs for artist engagement and development, we welcome this important partnership with The McKnight Foundation.”

The fellowships for dance and choreography will transition from the University of Minnesota’s Northrop, where they came to reside in 2011. “Northrop has been pleased to serve as the administrative home for the McKnight Fellowships for Dancers and Choreographers, and to host the McKnight fellowship dancers as some of the very first performers on the new Northrop stage in our first season,” said Christine Tschida, Northrop's director. “We look forward to continued collaborations between our vibrant local dance community, our University students, and the national and international dance artists that Northrop presents.”

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, The McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the longest tenured of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1981. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 10 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the Foundation contributes about $1.7 million per year to its statewide fellowships. Click here to learn more.


The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. We use all our resources to attend, unite, and empower those we serve. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $88 million in 2014, of which about 11% was directed to support working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Na Eng, communications director, (612) 333-4220