What We Do & Why

COMPAS puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills.

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We are all born creative, but we must work to stay that way.
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Creativity is for everyone

The 130+ professional teaching artists on our roster possess a wide spectrum of creative abilities and are committed to guiding your creative journey with excellence and passion. The inspiring experiences they provide form the core of our programming.

COMPAS Creative Classroom.mov from COMPAS on Vimeo.

Our programs offer something for everyone

Our Teaching Artists can provide a wide range of engagements, both in-person and online including innovative formats like art kits and more. Here are a few of our most popular program formats. These formats are customizable to meet your needs.


COMPAS residencies, led by professional teaching artists, offer hands-on learning for all ages, including K-12 students. Customized to align with existing curricula and educational benchmarks like the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards, these residencies occur on-site and can span from one week to several months. Residencies can also be crafted for skill and community-building programs in nonprofit organizations that serve unhoused people, older adults or seniors, and adults with barriers to accessing the arts because of persistent mental health and physical or emotional challenges. We offer residencies in youth-serving organizations and can accommodate virtually any scheduling needs.


Workshops led by teaching artists involve stand-alone projects for groups of 30 or fewer participants. They’re great for “drop-in” settings like libraries or community centers and can expand on learnings from COMPAS performances. For instance, a spoken word teaching artist may lead a poetry workshop for individual classrooms after a performance. Lasting 50-60 minutes, it’s best to have at least two workshops. They can also be held in out-of-school programs, evenings, or weekends.


From Aztec dancing to African storytelling, performances engage a larger group with a balance of performance, demonstration, and interaction. Our artists come from around the world and are excited to share their culture through music, dance, and presentation. Many programs provide study guides with background and preparation information, artist biographies, and resources for further information. Length is typically 45-60 minutes. Some performances also have companion workshops. Performances are for groups of up to 300 audience members.

Professional Development

COMPAS offers professional development sessions across all program areas, empowering your staff and volunteers to incorporate art & creativity into any setting. We provide training for those new to the arts to enhance their ability to collaborate effectively with artists and maximize the benefits of artistic engagement. In addition, some COMPAS teaching artists are also skilled DEI facilitators and offer workshops that unlock personal reflection, empathy and skills for working with each other and their participants more effectively. 

Costs of Arts Programs

Costs are dependent on program type and amount of time desired with the artist. Please contact [email protected] or another member of the program team for a program cost estimate.

Equity & Access

Equity and access is central to our work to bring art to everyone. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about our programming? Our FAQ can answer your questions.

Stay Connected

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COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.