The Regional Cultural Treasures initiative honors the diversity of expression and artistic excellence that these organizations have contributed to our state of Minnesota over decades.
American Indian Community Housing Organization
Celebrating the resiliency and creativity of Indigenous people.
American Indian Community Housing Organization Arts Program (AICHO) honors the resiliency of Indigenous people by strengthening communities and centering Indigenous values. Since 2012, AICHO has provided a year-round space within Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizim for Indigenous artists to showcase and sell their work. Galleries are used by artists, authors and musicians for art shows, book releases and performances, which are free and open to the community. AICHO’s arts and cultural programming also includes community art classes and workshops, youth art activities, Indigenous artists pop-up events and book readings, and an Indigenous First art and gift shop.
Ananya Dance Theatre
Creating original dance theater inspired by the lives and dreams of diverse women from around the globe.
Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT) creates original dance theater drawing on social justice themes inspired by the lives and dreams of BIPOC women, womxn, and femmes from around the globe. In dancing stories where the struggles, triumphs and transformations of global Black and Brown communities occupy the center, ADT empowers artistic voices, shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds relationships, and energizes communities toward equity and beauty. ADT’s Shawngrām Institute for Performance and Social Justice is located in St. Paul.
Building, supporting, and cultivating opportunities for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
Indigenous Roots is an arts plus organization and coalition of artists, cultural groups and community partners dedicated to building, supporting and cultivating space, opportunities and resources with and for Native, Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples. In 2017, Indigenous Roots opened a brick and mortar around Imniza Ska (East Side of Saint Paul) that is centered and grounded in multidisciplinary, multigenerational, multicultural arts and activism.
Supporting the development of young urban artists through an array of social enterprises.
Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), founded in 1995, is a youth employment center and community development social enterprise rooted in North Minneapolis. JXTA’s programs offer college-level training to teens through a core program known as JXTALabs, which annually employs 70 youth ages 14 to 21 in five revenue-earning art and design micro-businesses. The JXTALabs offer a wide array of high-quality art and design services to local and regional clients while developing the talents of young creatives.
Promoting contemporary expressions of Arab, Southwest Asian, and North African artists.
Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, film, art and cultural production centering the work of Arab and Southwest Asian and North African artists. For more than 20 years, Mizna has been creating a decolonized cultural space to reflect the expansiveness of our community and to foster exchange, examine ideas and engage audiences in meaningful art. Mizna’s publishes the only Southwest Asian and North African literary and art journal in the country; produces the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival; and offers classes, readings, performances, public art and community events, which have featured more than 400 local and global writers, filmmakers and artists.
Pangea World Theater
Illuminating the human condition, celebrating differences, and promoting human rights through multi-disciplinary theater.
Pangea World Theater illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theater. Founded in 1995, Pangea’s innovative theater performances and arts-based community engagement transcends borders and brings audiences together at the intersection of politics, arts and human rights to explore the relevant and often divisive themes of our times—racism, exile, immigration, freedom, and cross-cultural expression.
The Somali Museum of Minnesota
Preserving traditional Somali culture and art and promoting Somali artists through an unrivaled collection and space.
The Somali Museum of Minnesota is the only museum in North America devoted to preserving traditional Somali culture and art. The museum’s mission is to educate young Somalis about traditional Somali culture and to build bridges through culture to non-Somali Minnesotans. The museum offers an unrivaled collection of traditional artworks and serves as a unique meeting space for Somali artists. After civil war left almost all of Somalia’s museums destroyed and cultural artifacts spread across the world, the Somali community in Minneapolis rallied to make Minneapolis the home of Somalia’s precious cultural inheritance.
Producing great performances born of arts, equity, and justice from the heart of the Asian American experience.
Theater Mu was founded in 1992 to bring Asian American voices to Minnesota stages and has grown to become one of the largest Asian American performing arts organizations in the nation. By producing great performances, community outreach efforts, and virtual programming born of arts, equity, and social justice from the heart of the Asian American experience, Theater Mu provides an unparalleled home for local and national Asian American artists and audiences of all backgrounds.
Cultivating literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture.
TruArtSpeaks is an arts and culture organization founded in 2006 and based in Saint Paul. Its mission is to cultivate literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. The organization believes that art and culture—especially Hip Hop—inspires connection, growth and social transformation. TruArtSpeaks provides development opportunities for youth, emerging artists and arts leaders through public events, direct mentorship, workshops, residencies, conferences, statewide initiatives and more.
Providing exceptional, affordable music education rooted in African American culture.
Walker|West Music Academy was founded more than 30 years ago by African American musicians Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West to provide a space rooted in the cultural traditions they were raised with—where everyone can gather, grow, and explore through music. Walker|West provides music instruction and community programming for students or all ages, from infants to elders, and is committed to a future where everyone has access to the healing power of music.
Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations make our communities better places to live. We need to invest in these vital organizations and their leaders as they meet this moment with imagination, persistence, and creativity. —DEANNA CUMMINGS, ARTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR