As a complement to our long-running commissioning program, American Composers Forum (ACF) is seeking to expand our reach by identifying and supporting artists we might not have supported or connected with in the past. The Minnesota Music Creator Awards (MMCA), formerly Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards (MECA), were created with the following goals in mind:

  • To engage Minnesota-based makers of original music who might not otherwise apply to ACF programs.
  • To provide these artists with funds to support a project that promises to have a significant boost to their creative development as music creators.
  • To send a message to a broader population of Minnesota music creators that ACF is interested in their work, and to see how ACF might support their needs as artists.
  • To encourage risk-taking and support the creation of new work.

Minnesota Music Creator Awards supports individuals or collaborative groups creating original music in a variety of musical approaches in the early stages of their creative development.

Current Participants

 Leyna Marika Papach
Leyna Marika Papach
Carlisle Evans Peck
Carlisle Evans Peck
Anthony William
tony the scribe

2021 Minnesota Music Creator Awards

for Artists in the Early Stages of Their Creative Development

Do you know someone who creates music?

Would $3,000 help them pursue a project that is designed to advance their creative development as a music creator?

Do they live in Minnesota?

Read on…

As a complement to our long-running commissioning program, American Composers Forum (ACF) is seeking to expand our reach by identifying and supporting artists we might not have supported or connected with in the past. The Minnesota Music Creator Awards (MMCA), formerly Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards (MECA), were created with the following goals in mind:

  1. To engage Minnesota-based makers of original music who might not otherwise apply to ACF programs.
  2. To provide these artists with funds to support a project that promises to have a significant boost to their creative development as music creators.
  3. To send a message to a broader population of Minnesota music creators that ACF is interested in their work, and to see how ACF might support their needs as artists.
  4. To encourage risk-taking and support the creation of new work.

 Minnesota Music Creator Awards supports individuals or collaborative groups creating original music in a variety of musical approaches in the early stages of their creative development. 

Nominations are invited for the

2021 Minnesota Music Creator Awards

for Artists in the Early Stages of Their Creative Development

Do you know someone who makes music?

Would $3,000 help them pursue a project that is designed to advance their creative development as a music creator?

Do they live in Minnesota?

Read on…

ACF is intentional in its interchangeable use of the terms artist, music creator, and composer as we recognize not everyone identifies themselves by one of these terms.

To download a PDF of the guidelines, visit HERE.

As a complement to our long-running commissioning program, American Composers Forum (ACF) is seeking to expand our reach by identifying and supporting artists we might not have supported or connected with in the past. The Minnesota Music Creator Awards (MMCA), formerly Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards (MECA), were created with the following goals in mind:

  • To engage Minnesota-based makers of original music who might not otherwise apply to ACF programs.
  • To provide these artists with funds to support a project that promises to have a significant boost to their creative development as music creators.
  • To send a message to a broader population of Minnesota music creators that ACF is interested in their work, and to see how ACF might support their needs as artists.
  • To encourage risk-taking and support the creation of new work.

Minnesota Music Creator Awards supports individuals or collaborative groups creating original music in a variety of musical approaches in the early stages of their creative development. 

Awards

Four awards will be give:

  • $3,000.00 to carry out a self designed project intended to advance their creative development as music creators.
  • Consultation, time, and resources from the ACF.  

Eligibility (Individual Artists and All Artist in an Ensemble or Collective Must Meet All Eligibility Requirements)

You can self nominate or you may nominate anyone with whom you have personal experience, even if they are friends, family members, coworkers, or simply music creators you admire.

The number of nominations an artist(s) receives is not taken into consideration by the curators.

If you are nominating an artist(s), you may repeat the process and nominate more than one artist.

No formal musical training is required.

Open to artists in the early stages of their creative development, have a focused direction and are actively creating new work in music, have yet to be substantially celebrated within music, the media, funding circles, or the public at large. The music creator(s) are vocational artists.

  • Early stage artists have between 2 to 10 years of experience as music creators making new original work (excluding any in a time degree-granting programs; as a musician of non-original work created by others; or arranging or reviving the work of other music creators; or time away from working as an artist due to circumstances-e.g., having children, caring for family members, long-term illness, etc.). Music creators who have been generating new work for more than 10 years (excluding any time spent as a student) are generally not eligible, even if they feel under-recognized. Such artists with more than 10 years in the field who wish to discuss eligibility-based on circumstances (weather personal or geographic) or on specific creative practice consideration (i.e, the scale of work and/or extended creative cycles necessary to complete a single work)- should contact Billy Lackey, ACF Vice President of Artist Services before Friday, April 23, 2021 to discuss eligibility in advance of submitting an application.
  • Have completed and publicly presented works. Works created and presented while in a degree-granting program are not eligible for meeting this requirement.
  • Have at least 1 work on your resume that has been supported by a presenting organization (that is not your own organization, if applicable) or funder (for a project grant from either a foundation or a federal, state, or local arts agency). Self-presented work or work created and presented while in a degree-granting program is not eligible for meeting this requirement.
  • Curators will rely on materials submitted in this application to assess the review criteria.
  •  This opportunity is not for beginning artists who have never created music, whose generated new work has yet to be publicly shared, or without a sufficient body of completed work that a panel can use to assess your artistic development over time.
  • Age is not a factor in determining eligibility.
  • Artists who are mid-career or established are not eligible.
  • Artist will be considered beyond early career and ineligible if they have:
    • Received consistent significant financial support for their artistic work from foundations and/or federal, state, or local arts agencies for multiple different projects.
    • Considerable bodies of work and are consistently touring and being produced by organizations (not your own organization).
    • Garnered significant regional or national prizes or awards in recognition or support of the creation and/or public presentation of multiply different works, including but not limited to: Grammy Awards, United States Artists Awards, Creative Capital Awards, MAP grants and/or Fulbright Fellowships, ASCAP Foundation or BMI Awards, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Chamber Music America Grants, New Music USA Awards, Commission or touring grants from national or regional performance venues. Receipt of one of these grants and awards does not make an artist ineligible-it is the receipt of multiple grants and awards for multiple projects that, taken as a whole, move an artist to mid-career or beyond.
    • Received recognition in the form of awards, commissions, residencies or funding opportunities that are specifically categorized as mid-career.
    • Received awards or prizes in recognition of significant cumulative career achievement (including but not limited to the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, The American Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, or the MacArthur Fellowship).
    • Have a full-time tenured faculty position (or the equivalent).

Recognizing that different funders may define “mid-career” in different ways, artists who have received mid-career awards but consider themselves still in an early career stage should contact Billy Lackey, ACF VP of Artist Services before Friday, April 23, 2021 to discuss eligibility in advance of submitting an application.

Mid-career or established artists from fields other than music will not be considered early career. For example, a new media artist with a substantial career who is now moving into creating music will not be considered early career for the purposes of this commission.

Groups in the early stages of their creative development are eligible if all original works are collaboratively created.

 Artists that create collaboratively are asked to provide insights into each individual’s role in the original music making process.

Nominees must be a resident of the state of Minnesota and have been resident for at least one year prior to application. Nominees did (or will) file US federal taxes as a resident of Minnesota. Proof of Minnesota  residency will be required to be provided before issuing an agreement to a selected artist. Applicants must have a US Social Security Number or US Tax ID.

Nominees (self nominated or otherwise) are not participating in any degree-granting programs (K-12, undergraduate, graduate) in any field. Applicants who are or will be students enrolled in degree granting programs are ineligible.

Previous MECA winners may not be nominated again. See list of previous MECA winners below.

Staff and board of the ACF and immediate family members are not eligible to nominate nor can they be nominated.

Staff and board of The Jerome Foundation, as well as immediate family members of foundation arts program staff are not eligible to nominate nor can they be nominated.

Two Ways to Connect

TO NOMINATE ARTISTS, GO TO THIS LINK:

https://forms.gle/cDebFkS774ab9UMv7

o   NOMINATIONS OPEN UNTIL  4/26/2021 until 11:59 PM (Central). The nomination process will be open to the public Until Monday, April 26, 2021 11:59 PM (Central).

o   The nomination process is simple: go to the web link provided providing the artist(s) name(s) and provide a link to a sample of the music creator(s) work. An ACF staff member will follow up with the music creator(s) and ask them to provide work samples and ask them to tell us their answer to “If you were given $3000, what project would you be able to do that would advance your creative development as a music creator to the next level?” The nominated artist will have until 11:59 PM Central on Monday, May 10, 2021 to complete the final nomination form.

TO SELF NOMINATE, GO TO THIS LINK:

  https://forms.gle/NKMZoKzjm3a8e5Rr8

o   SELF NOMINATIONS OPEN UNTIL 4/26/2021 until 11:59 PM (Central).  The nomination process will be open to Self Nominate Until Monday, April 26, 2021 11:59 PM (Central).

o   The nomination process is simple: go to the web link provided and submit two work samples and answer the following question: “If you were given $3000, what project would you be able to do that would advance your creative development as a music creator to the next level?” You can answer the question in one of two ways: provide a typed written answer in 500 words or less or provide a link to a 2-minute or less video providing the answer to the question. If you provide a link to a video make sure the link remains active until July 31, 2021. Provide a weblink to an artist resume.

Selection Process

ACF staff reviews all nominations for eligibility and completeness. A diverse committee of five curators familiar with a range of music will have access to all materials submitted. Curators convene via Zoom over a three-day period to make final determinations. Curators will remain anonymous until after the results are announced in July 2021.

 Some of the past curators for Minnesota Music Creator Awards (formerly Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards) include Linda Antas, Nicolas Lell Benavides, Samantha Boshnack, Theron Brown, Lisa Renee Coons, Adam Fong, Eric Gould, HyeKyung Lee, Shawn Okpebholo, Queen Drea, Ingrid Stölzel, Dameun Strange, Yohannes Tona, Aby Wolf, and Michael Woods. 

 The American Composers Forum staff who oversee the Minnesota Music Creator Awards program do not contribute to the decision-making process or the selection of the artists. The role of the staff is to provide clarity for the review process and ensure that the curator’s review and the discussions proceed in accordance with the program’s guidelines.

Key Evaluation Criteria 

  The curatorial panel will be looking for the following in the music creator(s) work and proposed project:

  • expands the aesthetic or social experience of music and/or reclaim and revive traditional forms in original ways
  •  is imaginative, rigorous, and well-executed
  • is technically proficient and exhibits a high level of craft
  • compelling and has a distinctive vision and authentic voice
  • connects with intended audiences/participants
  • engaging aesthetically and experientially
  • bold and risk-taking

Notification

The curators’ decision is final and will be announced in August 2021. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2021 Minnesota Music Creator Award Recipients are announced, all applicants will have an opportunity to set up a phone appointment with ACF’s vice president of artist services for feedback from the curators.

Music creator’s demographic information as part of the self nomination form.

We frame our work with a focus on racial equity and include within that scope, but not limited to, diverse gender identities, musical approaches and perspectives, religions, ages, (dis)abilities, cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and broad definitions of being “American.”

 We request information about your identity to help us know more about the artists we are reaching.

 Below are a series of open fields and checkboxes.

 Open fields are provided so you can share how you self-identify. We understand that this data can in no way fully reflect the richness of who you are. We are especially interested in how you relate to race, gender, geographic location (and rural/urban), class, education, physical/mental health, citizenship, native language, and cultural background. Please share as much as you are comfortable sharing with us.

Checkboxes are provided for race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and stage of artistic life. This allows us to see how applicant cohorts relate to the demographic information from other organizations, funder requirements, and geographic areas.

 Providing this information is optional.

What you share in the 2021 Demographic Information form as part of your SlideRoom application for this program will be included in your application and seen by curators. If you prefer to keep your answers separate/anonymous, please complete this form:

https://forms.gle/F7K1TrbDtdMiGgcU6

  1. Please share the words you use to more fully communicate who you are and your experiences:
  2. Which of the following regions do you identify with in terms of race, ethnicity, and nationality? (check all that apply)
    • Multi-racial or Multi-ethnic descent
    • Native American, Alaskan Native or Indigenous peoples
    • African descent/Diaspora
    • Southern African descent
    • Central African descent
    • East African descent
    • North African descent
    • West African descent
    • Caribbean descent
    • North American descent
    • Central American descent
    • South American descent
    • Central Asian descent
    • East Asian descent
    • South Asian descent
    • Southeast Asian descent
    •  Middle Eastern/Southwest Asian descent
    • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Island descent 
    • Latinx descent 
    • European descent
    • Decline to State 
    • Prefer to self-identify (use open field in next question)
  3. Open field for question above, which of the following regions do you identify with in terms of race, ethnicity, and nationality?
  4. Please note specific race, ethnic, region, national group, and/or tribal/band affiliations with which you identify. Examples: Dakota-Shakopee Mdewakanton, Honduran, Azeri/Persian, Puerto Rican, Nigerian, Hmong, Thai, Scots-Irish, Russian Jewish descent, Laotian, Chicano, Italian, Rural/Remote resident, Yupik, Haitian and Creole, Norwegian, decline to state, I don’t know, etc.
  5. Which best describes your current gender? (Check all that apply)
    • Female
    • Gender non-confirming/non-binary
    • Gender fluid
    • Male
    • Two Spirit
    • Decline to State
    • Prefer to self-identify
  6. Open field for question above, which best describes your current gender?
  7. Do you identify as transgender?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Decline to state
  8. Do you consider yourself as: (Check all that apply)
    • Heterosexual or straight
    • Gay
    • Queer
    • Lesbian
    • Pansexual
    • Bisexual
    • Demisexual
    • Asexual
    • Same Gender-Loving
    • Decline to state
    • Prefer to self-identify (use open field in next question)
  9. Open field for question above
  10. Are you part of the disability community?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Decline to state
  11. How many years have you been creating music? 
    • 1 – 5 years
    • 6 – 10 years
    • 11 – 20 years
    • 21 – 30 years
    • 31 – 40 years
    • 41 – 50 years
    • more than 50 years
    • Decline to state

Questions

The American Composers Forum encourages applicants to contact ACF staff to ask questions and discuss potential applications. For questions regarding MMCA contact, Billy Lackey, VP of Artist Services at (651) 317-9441 or wlackey@composersforum.org

2018 MECA Recipients

Jen Bluhm
Jarrelle Barton
Alex Bissen

2017 MECA Recipients

Queen Drea
Queen Drea
Holly Hansen
Holly Hansen
Ian Vaver
Ian Vaver

2016 MECA Recipients

Lynn O'Brien
Lynn O’Brien
Jay Afrisando
Jay Afrisando
Zacc Harris Press Photo By Benny Moreno
Zacc Harris

2015 MECA Recipients

2014 MECA Recipients

2013 MECA Recipients

2012 MECA Recipients

2011 MECA Recipients

2010 MECA Recipients

2009 MECA Recipients

  • James P. Hungelmann
  • Kevin Washington
  • Yilma Woldemedhen