Author Archive

Vickie Benson
Vickie Benson
Vickie Benson is Arts program director at The McKnight Foundation. Read her bio and follow her on Twitter @VickieLBenson.

Artists as Must Haves: Why Our Communities Need the NEA

    In my office, I’ve hung a quote on poster paper that reads: “Artists are MUST HAVE, not nice to have. They are essential, not peripheral.” It’s a conviction our board and staff share as McKnight’s arts program places working artists at the core of our focus. Millions of Americans agree that artists and the […]

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How We Got Here: McKnight’s Arts Approach Explained

  McKnight’s arts team recently shared the following letter with arts grantees about a program update that increases transparency about our grantmaking approach.   Dear McKnight Arts Grantee, In 2015, The McKnight Foundation granted $9.1 million — more than 10% of our total payout for the year — to arts organizations in Minnesota. McKnight has supported Minnesota’s artists since 1981, the inaugural […]

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Vickie Benson: The Long View on Artist-Centered Creative Placemaking in Minnesota

People intrigued by Minnesota’s surplus of artist-centered creative placemaking activities often ask me, “What’s in the water in Minnesota?” And with good reason: A flurry of discussion (in articles, blog posts, opinion pieces, and at conferences) and bricks-and-mortar development (in the streets, neighborhoods, and lives of actual Minnesotans), all spinning out from the central concept […]

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Vickie Benson: Juxtaposition Arts — A history of success and primed for more

December was a big month for Juxtaposition Arts in north Minneapolis. But when an organization is an active and engaged as JXTA, aren’t they all? The Bush Foundation recognized JXTA among its first awardees for the annual Bush Prize for Community Innovation, which comes with a flexible grant equal to 25% of JXTA’s annual budget. […]

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Vickie Benson: Open Road, Open Mind

Artist travel as state strategy for cultural, professional growth Twenty-four years ago, I loaded my car for the trek from Minnesota to Washington, D.C., for a summer fellowship in the music program of the National Endowment for the Arts. It was a summer for the history books, especially arts history. Reverend Donald Wildmon of the […]

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