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2021 Beyond the Box

Beyond the Box is an artist incubation opportunity in public, outdoor performance. Individual practitioners, burgeoning ensembles and established companies are all welcome to apply and will be equally considered to join an equitable cohort of 4-6 artists/companies working together to learn how to engage in public, outdoor performances in a fluid peer-to-peer mode while collaborating with organizers. 

Modular short performances (10-20 minutes) will take place in a variety of locations near Nicollet Avenue including sidewalks, plazas, parks, greenways, parking lots, etc., and should be designed to engage the diverse audiences of downtown Minneapolis and celebrate the reanimation, renewal, and changing relationship to public spaces.

Each selected artist/company will receive a $2,500 development and performance fee plus a minimum of 20 hours of rehearsal space and up to 20 hours of free meeting/administrative workspaces leading up to the event. Preference will be given to artists/companies who incorporate a response to current events or address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Application deadline is Monday, March 15 at 5pm CST.

Performances will take place June - September, 2021, during daylight hours in downtown public spaces, scheduled in coordination with the artists. Available locations will be confirmed at the time of selection, and artists/companies will work with program organizers for best locational fit and timing. Organizers will consult with artists before finalizing any dates/times, and will include alternate dates in the event of inclement weather.

The goals of Beyond the Box are to:

  • Cultivate artists’ skillset in nontraditional, outdoor performing arts

  • Encourage a positive, exchange-oriented environment for artistic engagement through usage of peer-learning relationships

  • Create a low threshold for participation by artists, including provision of rehearsal space, stipends, media documentation, and marketing 

  • Cultivate adventurous work with avenues for artist-audience connectivity that is often perceived as less commercially viable in for-profit contexts with intentional inclusion of early-career and burgeoning artists alongside established artists to ensure a wide range of genres, disciplines and voices (including historically marginalized groups) are represented

  • Give audiences free and accessible opportunities to engage the performing arts in an impactful way while in a shared, public space

Artist/Company Goals and Responsibilities

  • Creating and/or adapting a performing arts piece of ~10-20 minutes

  • Communicating with organizers regarding reservation of rehearsal space, learning outcomes, and partner engagement

  • Providing an individual or organizational W9 so that payment can be made

  • Participating in a pre- and post-program survey

  • Participating in a potential post-program panel discussion to share knowledge with fellow artists and interested audiences at a free, public event

Applications Closed

If you've got questions or would like to request any accommodations, please feel free to contact us at

This project is a partnership with Vibrant and Safe Downtown and the Downtown Improvement District, and is funded, in part, by support from the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.
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