Creative Engagement

A young girl wears face paint and colorful adornments

Photo courtesy artist Michael Hoyt’s Trust for Public Practice/DreamsLand, a recently funded ANPI grantee. DreamsLand is a new platform for sustained neighborhood-based engagement in the arts. Learn more about DreamsLand. Photo credit: Ari Newman.

Funded the McKnight Foundation, the Center for Urban and Regional Affair’s Artist Neighborhood Partnership Initiative (ANPI) aims to build more equitable communities in the Twin Cities through the support of the arts.

Unlike many grant competitions, ANPI artists are judged on their relationship to the community, rather than on the medium or style in which they choose to work. While applicants are expected to explain the intention of their work in a grant proposal, ANPI coordinators steer clear of suggesting goals and outcomes.

“We want applicants to self-define their outcomes,” said CURA’s Director of Community Programs Neeraj Mehta, who oversees the program.

One of this year’s award recipients, filmmaker Brit Fryer, directed a documentary called “We May be Cold” about policing of Black communities in the Twin Cities. Fryer used part of his ANPI grant to pay stipends for participants involved in the filming, interviewing and production of the film.

By including community members in the filmmaking process, Fryer says he is giving voice to the neighborhoods he works in: “This project may not change policy in the Twin Cities, but at the minimum it gives Black youth a model for telling their own stories.”  He is one of many ANPI-funded artists who are effecting structural change through creativity.

“As neighborhoods become more diverse and complex, it is essential that University-community partnerships continue to include the thriving arts population in the Twin Cities,” says Mehta. “We recognize the role that artists play in community revitalization efforts. ANPI grants are just one way to support their work.”