Art & Soul: Helping Out Our Artistic Communities


Photo courtesy of BigStock/salajean

The COVID-19 crisis has been a tumultuous time for the robust and celebrated artistic communities of the Twin Cities. With the closure of music and performance venues until further notice, many local artists and musicians have felt the financial pinch. The arts are incredibly integral to the identity of the Twin Cities, and while concerts and exhibits are currently being cancelled or postponed, there are several ways we can help support our brothers, sisters, and siblings in the arts during this unprecedented time.

Twin Cities Music Community Trust

Created as a nonprofit in 2014 and having its operations assumed by First Avenue Productions in 2019, the Twin Cities Music Community Trust provides assistance and educational opportunities for Minnesotans in the music community. When the COVID-19 crisis intensified in March of this year, the Trust established the Emergency Relief Fund to help out local artists who rely on gigs to make ends meet. The funds will be distributed to those directly impacted by the pandemic, including musicians, night staff, bartenders, stage crews, photographers, and more.

Springboard For The Arts

An economic and community development organization dedicated to Minnesota artists, Springboard For The Arts has been diligent in connecting artists with the opportunity to cultivate their skills and find the services that can help them make a living in their chosen profession. Springboard created their Personal Emergency Relief Fund as part of their response to the coronavirus pandemic. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for scheduled work that was cancelled due to the outbreak. The fund is currently prioritizing available funding for artists of color, artists in the disability community, artists who live in rural communities, and GLBT artists. Those interested can donate to the fund via Springboard’s website.

The Cedar Cultural Center

For over 30 years, this Cedar-Riverside music and performance venue has gifted the Twin Cities with global music and dance, as well as showcasing independent and local artists. The nonprofit Cedar recently cancelled or postponed all of its shows through June 1 due to the pandemic. If you want to help support The Cedar in its mission of community engagement and promoting global artistry, you can donate to them directly.

MSP Film Society

For over half a century, the nonprofit Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Society has promoted the art of cinema, exhibiting independent and international film through various screenings and events, most notably their annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF). The MSP Film Society was forced to postpone this year’s installment of their signature event—originally scheduled for April 2020—due to the pandemic. While cinephiles won’t be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of MSPIFF right now, donations towards the MSP Film Society can help the organization advance their mission of supporting local and international filmmakers for years to come.

The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge

Located in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood, The Hook and Ladder has allowed musicians and performance artists the chance to share their talents with the community since 2016. Operated by the nonprofit Firehouse Performing Arts Center, The Hook and Ladder has showcased a dynamic variety of artists of all stripes. As of press time, the venue is holding off on any events through May 15. A relief fund has been set up to support the Hook and Ladder staff during this time.

The Cowles Center

Since 2011, the nonprofit Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts has been supporting performers and the art of dance, as well as dedicating itself to community engagement and arts education. Cowles has postponed all Spring 2020 performances. Making a donation will help Cowles Center continue to support local dancers, dance instructors, and promote creative expression.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Every summer, the best and brightest of the local, national and international jazz scenes converge for the nonprofit Twin Cities Jazz Festival in downtown St. Paul. This free festival has been delighting music lovers since the late 1990s. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic meant that this June’s festival had to be postponed. The Jazz Fest is currently preparing to host live streaming jazz performances from around the Twin Cities. In the meantime, local jazz aficionados can donate to help support the Twin Cities Jazz Fest organization.

We are updating this list as necessary. If your local nonprofit or organization has a relief fund or donation option to help support artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, please email [email protected] and we will add it to the online version of this article.

Lavender Magazine

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436 • 612.436.4660

©2023 Lavender Media, Inc.