Monday, December 27, 2010

Year End Giving

It's the end of the calendar year, that time when we recover from Christmas, mourn the fact that our New Year's Eve plans are not more exciting, return gifts, make resolutions, eat Christmas cookies for breakfast every day, fall into a morass at work if we go in at all (or are completely overwhelmed by things), try to see the Oscar-bait movies released, spend down our flex plan dollars and insurance deductibles (thus my foot surgery today), and make end of the year charitable donations.

If you're doing the latter, may I make some suggestions? Make it easy on yourself, just head over to GiveMN with your credit card and knock off a few donations, maybe with your spouse and a glass of wine tonight. I really can't recommend the following places highly enough — they are all great organizations that will do wonders with even the smallest amount of money:

- Skewed Visions: I sit on the board of this site-specific company, and their work will change your life. Currently we're trying to raise money to send one of the founders to St. Petersburg, Russia to do an intensive workshop with Iguan Dance, in preparation for an upcoming joint production based on Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. We only need $2,000 for all expenses with the residency — or if that does not appeal, check out Skewed Visions other projects (the main link is the page I set up as a board member).

- Nimbus Theatre: is opening a wonderful new space of their very own in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District! I love the curious and eclectic work that Nimbus does, and I am excited to have the first resident theatre company in the new NE district. Plus, let's face it, giving to a capital campaign feels good — for just $24, for example, you can purchase 1/75 of the audience seating needed!

- Open Eye Figure Theatre: Produces a wide variety of amazing work. From their mainstage productions in the Phillips neighborhood (all of which offer pay-what-you-can) to the FREE Driveway Tour shows that go to people's homes in the summer, this is one of the most diverse and accessible theatres in town.

- Serrand Epp: is the new company led by two of the former artistic directors at Jeune Lune. Recently incorporated as a non-profit, their show at the Southern Theatre in May will be amazing.

- SARPA: Is the Summit Avenue Residential Preservation Association, of which I am the board chair. Recently, we've been broadening our work to do more education about this amazing street, including free lectures and other events. To donate to SARPA, go to Historic Saint Paul and designate your gift.

There are so many other great non-profits I can recommend and that I gave to: Circus Juventas, Nautilus Music-Theater (of course), Springboard for the Arts (supporting artist development), Theatre of Fools, the Macalester-Groveland Community Council (or other Neighborhood Development sites), the Mental Health Association of Minnesota, my friend Pat's choice of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Uptake, the Waseca County Historical Society, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, cancer sites, or any case that's dear to you.

But really, do think about giving — it's amazing how much even $10 can do!

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Want to support an arts-related business that's not a non-profit? My friend Kelly runs Play by Play Books in lowertown Saint Paul, which features not just theatre books, but a great selection of gifts and otehr merchandise, all of which supports local artists. She's even got a 50% off order on Dealstork right now (though I can't seem to make a referral code work for the life of me, I think that will send you to the right place.

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