One Twin Cities man wants to help musicians and other entertainers by giving them space to share their talent.
Chadwick Phillips, founder of the production company Avant Garde, has created a stage to showcase talent in the Twin Cities. He has hosted concerts, art shows and poetry nights. Now, that stage is getting bigger thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. The money will help fund concerts that coincide with a series of monthly cultural socials between now and December 2017.
Phillips, who has performed on a national level and was once signed to a major record label, says his path to success wasn’t easy.
“I come from a background where homelessness was part of my childhood,” he said. “We were in shelters, hotels and even the basement of churches that provided food and shelter for us when I was younger.”
The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council is a funder of nonprofit arts organizations, non-arts nonprofits with arts programming, and informal arts groups with a nonprofit as a fiscal sponsor. Funded groups and activities must be in the seven-county metropolitan area. The first concert of this series is November 20th.
Singing and writing music awakens Dahlia Jones’ soul. The 20-year-old is one of the artist that will perform. She hopes the exposure takes her career higher. She has the same hope for others from the area.
"A lot of people sleep on Minneapolis when it comes to arts. We have a lot going on. To be a part of that is amazing," she said. “Doing stuff like this helps me get to know other artists and helps me boost my career. It will also allow me to help others."
Greg Nielsen, MRAC program director, said the grant money allows musicians to collaborate and create new ideas. The organizations and project chosen demonstrate both strong artistic quality and a community connection.
Nielsen said back in 2008, voters approved the legacy amendment which established the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Prior to that, the council was awarding about $800,000 a year, Now, it grants about $3.5 million per year. For this first round of the 2017 Arts Activities Support grant, MRAC distributed grants to 80 organizations.