Supporting a Creative Economy – and the Emerging Artists Who Fuel It

Every spring, the Minneapolis College of Art & Design throws an exclusive art party to raise scholarship funds for students at the school. The Auction at MCAD, which will be held on May 20 this year, features live and silent auctions where guests bid on exceptional art created by MCAD alumni, faculty, and staff. Since 2013, this event has raised more than $500,000 for MCAD scholarships, nurturing the next generation of creative professionals in the Twin Cities.

“MCAD is a community dedicated to placing students first and helping them combine their creativity with a sense of purpose.” — MCAD President Jay Coogan

The Minneapolis Foundation is a proud sponsor of this year’s auction – just one of the ways the Foundation invests in the Twin Cities’ vibrant arts scene. In the past three years alone, the Foundation and its donors have granted more than $41 million to arts organizations, from venerable museums to cutting-edge theaters to renowned schools such as MCAD.

Some donors at the Minneapolis Foundation care deeply about creating platforms to highlight the work of emerging artists – an interest that the Foundation supports in ways that extend beyond grantmaking. In January, for example, the Foundation showcased work by six artists from MCAD at its annual welcome dinner for new donors. Each work of art reflected a community issue of deep relevance to the Foundation and its donors, from education to environmental conservation. One artist, for example, showed work inspired by the journeys of pollinators such as bees and monarch butterflies.

“Many of our donors are passionate about the arts—and not just because they love art for its own sake,” said Teresa Morrow, the Minneapolis Foundation’s Vice President of External Relations. “Art sparks ideas and debate. From the conversations you could hear all over the room at our welcome dinner, you could tell that people were having powerful reactions to the work of these talented MCAD students and alumni.”

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are also important to Minnesota’s economy, contributing $1.2 billion statewide every year and supporting the equivalent of more than 33,000 full-time jobs.

“MCAD is a community dedicated to placing students first and helping them combine their creativity with a sense of purpose,” said MCAD President Jay Coogan. “We understand that developing talent, creativity, and innovation in our students will directly impact Minnesota’s economic engine, and we are greatly indebted to this community for supporting this vital mission.”

MCAD Auction

A guest bids on art at the 2015 Auction at MCAD.