Impact and Programs
In 2016 the M experienced the demand and enthusiasm in our community for our work and programs. Here are a few highlights:
The exhibition American Art: It’s Complicated was a watershed in our programming because it allowed us to consider the very basic questions about who we are and what we do. For this exhibition, we brought in four curators of color to organize the exhibition and ask key questions to our audience through public programming. This experience helped launch the conversations that have informed current initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion at the museum.
We received a coveted Arts Access grant through the MN State Arts Board and a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant, both of which expand our activity with programming around diversity and inclusion. We also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for our current exhibition, Ken Gonzales-Day: Shadowlands, and were a first-time finalist for a national Joyce Foundation award.
The M hired a communications consultant to help us build a new website, which launched in October 2016 with a new look, new nickname (the M), and a blog. At the same time the M published a new book, Heart of St. Paul: A History of the Pioneer and Endicott Buildings, written by Larry Millett, which shows our commitment to history and architecture in the Twin Cities.
We are “shovel ready” to begin to build Phase One of the museum’s new facility in the Pioneer Endicott Building in St. Paul. We have raised $8.3 million in gifts and pledges towards our new building, a figure which includes many corporations such as Ecolab, 3M, and Securian, and new funders such as the Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation, the Scrooby Foundation, and a major commitment for over $1 million from the City of St. Paul.
Finally, the M was named 2016 “Best Museum in the Twin Cities” by the City Pages magazine.
The M is engaged in a unique opportunity to imagine and build a museum from the ground up that has the values of a 21st-century museum at its core—accessibility for all, learning and exchanging, supporting living artists, and responsible stewardship for generations to come. Our goals for the next 1-3 years:
1) Develop programs that engage and are relevant to the community. In our current and future galleries, the M will continue to mount exhibitions that feature local and national artists and focus on issues that bring together people around the issue of American art. We will also continue to extend our programs to off-site locations throughout Minnesota and will add a new web platform that will bring new responsive content to thousands more people.
2) Establish a permanent home that supports MMAA's programming and serves the community's needs. We have completed design, construction documents, and bidding to be “shovel ready” to build a 17,500 square foot museum in the Pioneer Endicott Building. This is a smaller footprint, a Phase One, of a larger project that we hope to complete once State Bonding funds are awarded. The Phase One facility includes main entrance, lobby, sculpture court, galleries, and the Sifo Center for Creativity, which includes three classrooms available for a new education program. Our plan is to start construction this spring with an opening of the new facility in winter 2017. We have already raised $8.3 million in gifts and pledges and are currently completing financing and tax credit terms with several local banks.
3) Build the capacity of the organization. This includes adding staff to increase our effectiveness and scope, including new positions in communications, educational programming, and facilities maintenance, preparing to launch a new enhanced donor database in 2017, and developing our digital database of images so that we can increase our collection’s and program reach out onto the web.
Community or Constituency Served
The M serves Minnesotans of all ages through our exhibitions and programs in our Lowertown gallery as well as exhibitions that extend into other venues in Minnesota. Tourists to our capital city are also served by the M.
Geographic Area Served
Primarily Twin Cities metro, but also outstate Minnesota through traveling exhibitions.