Support Us



On March 13, The Cowles Center postponed 33 shows featuring 334 artists and, as a result, brought an early end to the 19/20 season. The Cowles and its artists are still absorbing the loss of not being able to share the magic of dance and performing artists live on stage with 10,000+ individuals this spring. The Cowles works with presenting companies to divvy up the ticket sales. Without the shows, our local dance companies and dancers have felt the loss of income they were relying on, many fearing the loss of their home, health care needs for themselves and their families, and worse during this challenging time.

The Cowles is committed to supporting the companies who perform on our stage, and the dance artists who are the lifeblood of our work. We quickly pivoted our Tuesday emails from promoting upcoming performances to providing free resources to feed our community's body, mind, spirit, and wallet. Every Tuesday, subscribers to our emails can rely on learning about new ways to feed their souls and resources for support for the dance community. 


Due to the need for both Minnesota public schools and The Cowles Center to shutter this spring, 356 sessions of residencies were canceled, with an impact of 3,100 students missing out on dance learning sessions or performance opportunities. The Cowles Center's 13 Teaching Artists lost teaching opportunities and income that they were counting on to weave together their livelihood. Further, many of these artists support children and elderly family members with income from this gig economy. For example, one of our teaching artists emailed: "I quit my full-time paying job last year to become a teaching artist. The Cowles and [another nonprofit] are my only source of income currently. As a single mother, I will not be able to survive a week without work. I will not be able to feed my son, my mom, or even myself—and forget about rent and other bills."

The Cowles Center was swiftly able to honor contracts for Teachings Artists—even for those sessions that can no longer be delivered due to school closures. In the changing landscape of a world practicing social distancing, the Cowles quickly pivoted by creating Cowles Classroom. The new format allows Cowles Teaching Artists the opportunity to develop new, online content to be shared with the teachers/schools they were intended to serve, as well as the broader public, allowing everyone to experience dance and movement from home during these challenging times.

In the first two weeks of the Cowles Classroom, we've had more than 3,000 views on YouTube. We'd love to keep this and other new virtual programs available for the public while keeping our talented Teaching Artists paid and working. 

Help us keep up the momentum for virtual channels for movement and connection by making a gift today! Support raised through the month of May will enable the Cowles to provide free services and engagement opportunities to the Minnesota dance community to come back stronger together post the pandemic. 

We thank the Aroha Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Target for their flexibility in grant awards to support our Teaching Artists while also generating new content. 

Supporting The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

As the Midwest’s largest dance complex, The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts offers our local dance community the dance-centric venue it needs to flourish – ensuring that artists can thrive and still call Minnesota home. 

Here dance students and professional artists come together to imagine the possibilities of what they can create and who they can become. They have the amazing talent, but we have the gift that can help elevate their artistry to the next level. With donations accounting for more than half of our annual budget, our donors’ support is more than appreciated – it’s critical.

Cowles Center donors’ generosity helps us to: 
  • Welcome 4,000 children a year to the Cowles Center for their first ever live dance performance. Through our Student Matinee program, we raise the curtain on a world of dance, music, costumes, lighting, and creative expression that they never knew before.
  • Make dance a viable profession in our state. The Cowles Center helps local dance companies attract the talents of gifted dancers, choreographers, musicians, and other artists to create their best work right here in Minnesota.
  • Enhance learning by removing financial and geographical barriers to quality arts education programs in Minnesota schools. Our art-infused education programs are offered free of cost to expand on school curriculum, creating opportunities for 3,600 underserved students to build creativity, spark curiosity, and engage in new ways of learning and thinking through movement.
  • Provide administrative, rehearsal, and studio space, at 25% below market value, to 28 local dance and performing arts organizations, allowing these organizations to place focus on creating rather than funding.
  • Grant the 20 companies featured in our performance season the unique opportunity to pay no upfront rental fees for the use of our theaters.  Cost of marketing materials, media strategies and box office staff are also absorbed by the Cowles Center for these companies.
  • Host two of Minnesota's leading dance schools, offering world-class training for dancers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. 

Click Here to Become a Cowles Center Supporter

*For a listing of individual donor benefits, please click HERE 

For questions, please contact:

Kate Tucker
Director of Advancement

The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts is a 501(c)(3) organization; our Federal Tax ID is 27-1173436. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.