At the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council   Annual Board Meeting last week the MRAC Board of Directors announced and presented the 2017 Arts Achievement Awards. This year, we honor East Side Freedom Library and Minhua Chorus; each group has been given a cash award of $5,000 for their outstanding achievements and commitment to the arts in MRAC's 7-county region.
 
East Side Freedom Library
Located in Saint Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood in a repurposed Carnegie Library building, the East Side Freedom Library opened in June 2014 and has been engaging community through theater performances, readings, community events, lectures, arts activities ever since. In addition to their non-circulating research collections on the history of labor, immigration, and diverse Americans, the East Side Freedom Library is the new permanent home for the Hmong Archives. The MRAC board was impressed with the large number of collaborations with local arts organizations, the dedication to culture and the arts for residents of the East Side of Saint Paul, and the innovative programming they have embraced in a short time.