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Calling all Minnesota artists! The Arts Partnership is now accepting proposals to perform at the Ordway

The Knight Foundation’s Cultural Opportunity Fund allows Minnesota artists to perform at Saint Paul’s cherished venue


October 22, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Oct. 21, 2021) — The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit collaboration between the Minnesota Opera, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club, is now accepting proposals for its Knight Foundation Cultural Opportunity Fund. Founded in 2015, the fund provides both full and partial grants that allow Minnesota artists to rent the Ordway Concert Hall.

“Minnesota is home to thousands of fantastic artists. We are thrilled to be able to help cover rental costs and welcome more local artists to the Concert Hall,” said Ryan Taylor, president of The Arts Partnership and president and general director of Minnesota Opera. “Together, with the support of the Knight Foundation, this fund helps reduce barriers to access and promote artistic expression.”

In 2014, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation endowed $1 million to create the Knight Foundation Cultural Opportunity Fund – intended for those who could not otherwise afford to rent the Concert Hall for an evening performance. Since then, 44 artists have received more than $153,000 in support to host concerts, film screenings, stage productions and author readings in the Concert Hall. The fund offers a $5,000 subsidy to artists and organizations whose annual budget is less than $500,000, or a $2,500 subsidy to larger groups.

“When our new Concert Hall opened in 2015, we knew we were gifted an incredible community asset that should be shared with artists at all levels,” said Christine Sagstetter, interim president and CFO at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s been inspiring to see this initiative grow to meet the creative needs of Minnesotans across many mediums.”

Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges looking for clearly articulated outreach strategies and productions that help fulfill the organization’s mission or advance the artist’s career. Learn more about the fund and eligibility here. The online application portal will close Feb. 1 and award recipients will be notified in mid-March.


The Arts Partnership is a 501c3 organization composed of four highly acclaimed organizations that perform regularly at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts – the Minnesota Opera, the Ordway, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club. The Partnership’s mission is to strengthen its organizations in service to the community through growing collaboration and stewardship of its shared assets. The Partnership was established in 2006 with considerable input from community leaders to help ensure that the Ordway, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and Schubert Club could effectively and harmoniously share the venue. Together the group collaborated on an $83.8 million Capital Campaign to build the state-of-the-art 1,100-seat Concert Hall on the Ordway’s campus. Equally important, the campaign established an endowment to provide rent relief for each organization. This endowment has been vital in allowing the Partnership organizations to effectively share the venue and fulfill their missions to the community. The Partnership continues to work together to maintain the Ordway venue, to expand access for other community arts organizations to perform in the Concert Hall and to engage in collaborative artistic programming.


The Ordway is the arts epicenter of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and one of the leading nonprofit performing arts centers in the country. Founded on the belief that performing arts should be wide-ranging and accessible to all, the Ordway is home to a variety of performances that encompass the finest in Broadway musicals, concerts, dance and vocal artists. The Ordway serves thousands of children each year through its education programs and presents the annual Flint Hills Family Festival. Known as the most comfortable place to catch a show in Minnesota, the Ordway includes a magnificent 1,900-seat Music Theater, a state-of-the-art 1,100-seat Concert Hall and spacious lobbies. The Ordway aims to reflect the communities it serves and address barriers to ensure everyone can experience the power of the performing arts.


Founded in 1963, Minnesota Opera has paved a bold, illustrious path. As an artistic pioneer, its dedication to excellence and inventive vision make it a steadfast leader in the opera community and beyond. Each year the company reaches nearly 400,000 people through its mainstage productions, groundbreaking education and training programs, community engagement, radio broadcasts and digital content. Heralded for its commitment to develop original works, the company has commissioned and produced more than 40 new operas that have been seen throughout the world. One of the nation’s largest and most distinguished opera companies, Minnesota Opera is consistently recognized for its innovation and world-class artistry, delighting audiences young and old for more than 55 years.


Renowned for its artistic excellence, remarkable versatility of musical styles and adventurous programming, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Entering its 63rd season in September, the SPCO is primarily an unconducted ensemble that performs a broad range of repertoire from Baroque to new music and presents more than 100 concerts and educational programs in the Twin Cities each year. The orchestra’s free online Concert Library receives more than 350,000 visits annually and offers live and on-demand concert videos that can be viewed anytime, anywhere, completely free of charge. Additionally, the SPCO has released 67 recordings, commissioned 150 new works and tours nationally and internationally. Nationally recognized for its commitment to accessibility, the SPCO performs in several venues across the Twin Cities and offers the most affordable ticket prices of any professional orchestra in the United States. The SPCO’s CONNECT education program reaches over 3,000 students and teachers annually in 10 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools, and its Target Free Family Music program provides engaging and educational experiences for thousands of Twin Cities children and families each year.


Founded more than 135 years ago, Schubert Club is one of the nation’s most vibrant music organizations, enriching Minnesota with dynamic concerts, music education programs and museum exhibits. Schubert Club reaches approximately 2,000 youth annually through varied activities such as family concerts, teacher and student workshops, free music lessons in neighborhood locations, and scholarships that allow young students to pursue their music studies more intensively. In addition, the Schubert Club Music Museum, located in downtown Saint Paul’s historic Landmark Center, holds a world-class collection of historic keyboards, original letters and manuscripts of famous composers, and musical instruments from around the world. Schubert Club maintains a commitment to affordable ticket prices for all concert presentations, as well as cost-free education programs and museum entrance, thanks to endowment gifts and annual donations. For more information visit


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