Eleanor Savage on how artists create social change  

woman with dog
Eleanor Savage, the new president and CEO of the Jerome Foundation, with her dog Petey.
BFRESH Productions

Minnesota is known for its lively arts and culture scene, but a strong arts culture doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes loyal audiences and organizations that support the arts. 

One of the key funding organizations for artists in Minnesota is the Jerome Foundation, a private foundation that's been around since the 1960s. Hundreds of Minnesota filmmakers, playwrights, choreographers, poets and other artists got a boost early in their career through a Jerome Foundation grant. 

And while some other private foundations are pulling back from funding the arts, Jerome Foundation is doubling down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with support for new artists and the organizations that nurture them.   

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with the Jerome Foundation’s new CEO and president Eleanor Savage about what the foundation does and its new focus on equity.  


  • Eleanor Savage is the president and CEO of the Jerome Foundation, a private foundation that supports early career artists in Minnesota and New York City and the nonprofit organizations that support them. She was a program director at the Jerome Foundation for 15 years and worked previously as a freelance video producer, a curator and as director of events and media production at the Walker Arts Center. She’s also a longtime activist for racial and LGBTQ justice and on the board of directors for Grantmakers in the Arts, a national association of grantmaking organizations that fund arts and culture.  

two women in broadcast studio
MPR News host Angela Davis (left) talks about arts funding with Eleanor Savage, the new president and CEO of the Jerome Foundation in an MPR News studio in St. Paul on Tuesday.
Maja Beckstrom

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.   

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.