Twin Cities BIPOC arts organizations get big funding boost

Ten art organizations of color in the Twin Cities are getting a boost in funding.  

The grant money comes following The Ford Foundation’s announcement last year that it would honor Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American (BIPOC) art organizations through its America’s Cultural Treasures Initiative to honor the country’s diversity in the arts.  

"I was so astonished and excited I think I literally screamed," Lily Tung Crystal, the artistic director for Theater Mu, told FOX 9 when she received the award information in an email.  

According to Tung Crystal, Theater Mu is one of the largest Asian-American theaters in the country, and the largest in the Midwest. The theater was founded in 1992 to address the need for representation within the Asian American community.   

And while the theater plays a big role in the community, Tung Crystal says funding for BIPOC art organizations is hard to come by. That’s why she says receiving $500,000 is a big deal.   

In North Minneapolis, the director of the youth arts organization Juxtaposition agrees. 

"I think it’s really important for people how incredibly rare this is," said Gabrielle Grier.  

The juxtaposition works to create pathways for teens and young adults to self-sufficiency through a hands-on educational approach.  

Both organizations say they are looking forward to expanding their reach with the grant money.  

"This gives us the opportunity to be more intentional about what we want to do," Grier adds. "For us, it means thinking about more equitable strategies for our young folks."  

"We are looking forward to giving back to our communities and finding ways with this money that we can support our communities and the Asian American diaspora in Minnesota."