Save Our Stages (SOS) Update and MCA Welcomes New Board Members
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Save Our Stages Update
The Save Our Stages Act was signed into law as part of the omnibus funding bill on Dec. 27, 2020. Given months-long delays from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in launching this program and disbursing the grants, many venue owners are struggling to use their funding by the end of December, forcing them to spend millions in only three months while their venues remain shuttered due to COVID restrictions. Unless this deadline is extended, venues could have to return billions of their grant dollars to the SBA. As of November 1st, over 250 businesses and organizations from Minnesota have received funding from Save our Stages and could be affected if an extension is not passed.
The Save Our Stages Extension Act Co-Authored by arts champion and Minnesota US Senator Amy Klobuchar, was introduced with bipartisan support in September. The bill would extend the project period for Shuttered Venue Operator Grantees to use their funds to pay for allowable expenditures incurred from March 1, 2020 through March 11, 2023.
At our Annual Meeting on November 5th, MCA welcomed a slate of 5 new board members from across Minnesota. The new members include:
Sheila Dickinson, a Region 10 Representative from Greater Minnesota, Sheila Dickinson has been involved in the Minnesota arts scene for fifteen years as an arts writer, curator and art history professor. Her arts writing is widely published in local, national and international outlets, such as Artforum, ArtNews, Hyperallergic, MN Artists, InReview and City Pages. Most recently Dickinson held the position of curator and Artistic Director of the Rochester Art Center where she built collaborative exhibitions with community, cultural and health organizations that sustained and nurtured artists and the art center. She developed a local art program, Rooted, wherein she helped artists from the seven counties of southeastern MN to apply for SEMAC grants for a solo exhibition at RAC. Many of the artists had never applied or received an artist grant. She continues to support local artists in her community through building connections between Rochester and the Twin Cities art scenes. Read More About Sheila
Vanessa McDuffie, an At-Large Representative from the Metro, is an educator and a community advocate of local arts. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Vanessa has a deep love for her community, and strives for diversity, inclusion, and creative forms of learning. Vanessa studied at Augsburg University during her undergrad, then received her Master’s in Special Education focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorder at St. Thomas University. Through her expertise and advocacy, Vanessa created Nue Bedford in 2020, an emerging creative space for artists under marginalized and radicalized groups; supporting them to grow their creative processes and talent with community resources.
Nichole Melton-Mitchell, an At-Large Representative from the Metro, is a native of Ohio who has lived in the Southeast most of her adult life. Her affinity for the arts dates back to her childhood when she not only played multiple instruments but also regularly attended the Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with her family. She and her family moved to Minnesota in 2018. Her educational background includes both a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management, and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Clayton State University in Morrow, GA. She is presently on track to complete her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2022. Professionally speaking, she possesses over 25 years of experience in the healthcare and dental industries. Her experience includes executive level roles administering Medicare and Medicaid managed care programs as well as medical practice administration both in the primary care and specialty fields, and practice management consulting. Ms. Melton-Mitchell also has extensive experience in the procurement, start-up, and implementation of government healthcare programs.
Michelle Miller Burns, an Organization Representative from the Metro, joined the Minnesota Orchestra as President and CEO in September 2018. Under her leadership, the Orchestra has developed a multi-year revenue growth plan; has unveiled a new leadership model for its long-running summer festival; and pivoted quickly to launch creative digital programming for audiences following the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Prior to her Minnesota post, Burns held multiple positions during her tenure with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, including Interim President and CEO. She began her orchestral career in the administration of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where she worked for over 15 years. Read More about Michelle
Dr James Wafler, a Region 5 Representative from Greater Minnesota, is currently retired and living on Pierz Fish Lake in central Minnesota. He is now on the Board of Directors of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra (based in Little Falls and Brainerd) and serves as Vice President. James worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives for twenty-two years; for nine of those years he served as Chief of Staff and Executive Director for the Majority Caucus. He was also a lobbyist for transportation interests for 22 years at the state capitol. Dr. Wafler received a B.A. from St. Olaf College and the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, in political science. He taught at St. Lawrence University, Washington and Lee University, and was an adjunct professor at Winona State University. He was guest lecturer in 1996 at Ernst Moritz Arndt University in Greifswald, Germany. Read more about James
Due to a recent resignation from Region 1 (NW Minnesota), MCA will be nominating a new member from the area soon.