Lengo la Mpango: Catalyze the creativity, power, and leadership of Minnesota working artists and culture bearers.
Minnesota artists and culture bearers help the McKnight Foundation accomplish our mission to advance a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. McKnight has a legacy of leadership in the arts in Minnesota, and support for working artists has always been a mainstay of our arts grantmaking.
In 2021, after launching a strategic refresh process that ratified the program’s evolution and will incorporate ongoing engagement with community partners, McKnight’s board of directors and team remain focused on resourcing the people who power Minnesota’s creative ecosystem—working artists and culture bearers. We recognize the myriad forms through which artists and culture bearers illuminate experiences, inspire joy, express the cultural diversity of communities, and advance justice—enriching the vitality and vibrancy of our state. McKnight’s newly named Arts & Culture program believes that Minnesota thrives when all its artists and culture bearers thrive.
In our support for Minnesota’s working artists and culture bearers, we envision using a robust toolkit to achieve our goal, including grantmaking and fellowships, impact investing, informing policy, influencing philanthropy, research, and catalyzing collaboration.
The Arts & Culture program funds organizations across many artistic disciplines and cultural practices. Our grantee partners offer support structures that equip and empower artists and culture bearers to practice, to produce, and to lead. We also work with key partners to provide ushirika and regranting to support individual working artists.
The addition of culture bearer to our goal acknowledges that our program provides support to creative leaders in Minnesota from cultures that don’t use the word artist (such as Native American and Hmong), as well as those who center the transmission and preservation of cultural lifeways.