Programs for University Students at MCA

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offering programming in music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. MCA is located about 1 mile from the Winona SMUMN campus inside the Valencia Arts Center at 1164 W. 10th Street. As an affiliate program MCA offers many unique opportunities for university students.

From a University Student Discount on any dance class, internship and apprentice opportunities, an art exhibit space and more. Click below to explore the possibilities.



The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) Internship Program provides a unique learning opportunity for individuals interested in careers in arts administration, marketing, human resources, and related fields. Each internship is designed to meet the needs and development of both the Intern and MCA. The Program offers invaluable hands-on training and experience through participation in projects and assignments that allow for the practical application of academic knowledge and the development of business skills necessary for a career in the arts. Interns work side by side with arts professionals in such areas as production, public relations, financial management, marketing, arts education, visual arts, and fundraising as they experience the day-to-day workings of a large, world-class performing arts center. Designed to provide not only practical training but also encouragement, inspiration, and role models for a new generation, this program offers significant opportunities for networking with administrators and informational meetings. Interaction with fellow interns and professionals on staff allow for the creation of valuable contacts for the future. Past Internship History MCA has a long history or fostering the development of young adults through internships, independent studies and apprenticeships. We have worked with students from both Saint Mary’s University and Winona State University. Past interns have:

  • created marketing videos
  • Redesigned on-boarding process
  • created education guides for dance concerts that are utilized by area teachers
  • conducted research on pricing of other area arts programming that helped MCA re-evaluate its pricing structure.
  • assisted with art activities at various community events
  • wrote blogs and social media posts
  • developed social media contests
  • organized parent and student volunteers
  • learned about grant funding and writing
  • helped planned events including a Parents Night Out
  • assisted with day-to-day operations at MCA including communication with staff, students and community members in-person, over the phone and written, shoe fittings, marketing material distribution and filing.
  • Pitched in at a variety of events such as the “Free-4-All”, Open House, Friends of MCA Meetings, and during a variety of concerts as an usher, photographer, or greeter.

Interns are invaluable to MCA and allow MCA to fulfill it’s mission of providing quality arts experiences and the commitment to education. Contact Managing Director, Jamie Schwaba 

Displaying Art in Galleria Valéncia

An important aspect of the Visual Arts Division at MCA is our gallery, Galleria Valéncia, at the Valéncia Arts Center (located down the long hallway that takes you to Studio 1 and the Karate Do Jo). Galleria Valencia is a great place for an artists to share your work with the community as we have hundreds of students, their families, and audience members in our building each week in addition to students,staff, and community members from rental organizations including Japan Karate-Do Genbu-kai of Minnesota, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and Winona International Dancers.  MCA will provide hanging tools including tape, hanging system and push pins to use on cork strips as needed, but Artist’s will be required to hang and dismantle the show. MCA is happy to have a reception for the artist and provide treats if the artist is interested.

If you are an artist who is interested in displaying at MCA please send a little of introduction and a sample or two of your work to Jamie at:  Since there are many families with young children that see the art hanging in the Gallery it is important that all artwork is family friendly.

Apprenticeships & Teaching opportunities at MCA

Private Music Lesson Instruction

  • Music Education Majors or Music Major/ Minors which significant experience in their given instrument and with at least a semester of pedagogy are invited to apply for a paid teaching position at MCA working with students of all ages and levels. For more information about teaching at MCA contact Managing Director, Jamie Schwaba at

Apprenticeships & Teaching Opportunities in Dance

  • Saint Mary’s students with an intermediate or advanced level of technique in jazz, tap, modern, ballet, Irish dance or hip hop have the opportunity to act as a teaching assistant for classes at a variety of levels and ages at MCA.
  • Student teaching apprentices allow for discounted or free tuition for any dance classes taken at MCA for no credit (amount discounted is contingent on the particular class apprenticed)
  • Acting as a teaching apprentice can lead to possible teaching opportunities at MCA
  • For more information about dance apprenticeships or teaching contact, MCA Director of Dance, Tammy Schmidt at

Apprenticeships & Teaching Opportunities in Theatre & Visual Arts

  • University Students majoring in Theatre or Visual Arts who have teaching experience or  are interested in gaining teaching experience, particularly with children should contact Managing Director, Jamie Schwaba at
University Student Dance Connection Discount

If you are currently enrolled in a university or college, present your student I.D. when registering and receive a 50% discount off your total MCA dance tuition. Not applicable for private music or dance lessons or classes being taken for credit. Between our Adult Fitness Classes and leveled dance classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop there is something for everyone no matter if you are a beginner or advanced dancer. Check out all of the Dance Classes to choose from.

Tuition discounts or packages may not be combined; however, the most advantageous discount will be applied when determining tuition totals for each student or family.

Dance For Credit

PSEO Students in their junior and senior years of high school who participate in the Post Secondary Education Option (PSEO) may also take selected MCA classes for Saint Mary’s University credit offered through the Saint Mary’s dance minor. For more details, contact your high school or counselor.

Saint Mary’s University Students have the option of taking upper level dance classes at MCA that are not offered on the SMU campus and performing with MCA’s pre-professional dance company, The Dance Repertory Company (DRC) for credit. SMU students do not have to be a Dance Minor or even in the Theatre & Dance Department to participate in MCA dance classes or DRC. Please contact Tammy Schmidt, MCA Director of Dance and SMU Dance Department at: or 507-453-5502 for more info.

Performance Opportunities
  • Every other December,  Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts pre-professional Dance Repertory Company (DRC) produce a full-length production of The NutcrackerSix public performances on the Page Theatre stage on the SMUMN Campus!  Next performance will be December 2018.
  • Every April, SMUMN and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts produce a full-length contemporary dance concert, incorporating jazz dance, tap dance, modern dance, hip hop, and contemporary ballet.  During the spring dance concert slot, we on occasion choose to do various full-length classical ballets, such as Swan Lake, Paquita, Le Corsaire, La Bayadere and Cinderella.  Three to five public performances on the Page Theatre stage!  The April 2018 season includes 4 performances of full-length ballet, Cinderella!
  • Various lecture demonstrations and smaller performances at libraries, museums and community events. 


National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA)

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is excited to announce it has just established the only Collegiate National Honors Society of Dance Arts (NHSDA) chapter as a way that you can honor our students and help advance the field of dance education.

Benefits for students include:

  • NHSDA is a program of the National Dance Education Organization, created to recognize outstanding artistic merit, leadership and academic achievement in students studying dance in post-secondary education.
  • The program stimulates dialogue and networking between students, faculty, experts in the field and potential employers, upon graduation.
  • NHSDA assists students in becoming future leaders in the field of dance arts education and performance, through workshops, seminars, outreach activities and more
  • Offers students the opportunity to submit a poem, story, article, or photo for publication in NHSDA’s official news letter, Dance Arts Now

For more information please contact Chapter Sponsor Tammy Schmidt at 507-453-5502 or

Summer Dance Intensive

A great way to stay conditioned and guarantee your dance technique will soar to new heights over the summer is to attend our annual 2-week Summer Dance Intensive (boarding available for students who do not live in Winona). Students have the opportunity to work with guest artist from all over the nation as well as talented staff from MCA and Saint Mary’s University.

Learn more about our Summer Dance Intensive

A Note about Transportation

Students from SMUMN who do not have their own car transportation, but are interested in attending classes, interning or working at MCA are almost always able to find ways to carpool. If there is a large enough group of students there may be the possibility of arranging to use an SMUMN vehicle. Please do not let transportation discourage you from getting involved. Please contact Tammy Schmidt at to see if we can help you make arrangements.

WSU Students are able to ride the WSU West Campus bus which drops you off at Lourdes Hall which is directly behind MCA.

2018 Fall Open House

On Wed. August 22, 4-7pm MCA will hold it’s Fall Open House. The open house is an excellent opportunity for parents and students to meet instructors and administration, ask questions about classes or attire, tour the facility, get fitted for shoes, register for classes, learn about our National Honors Society for Dance Arts chapter, explore an instrument petting zoo and enter prize drawings.  Lucky families could win a gift certificate to Rochester’s premier dance attire store, Blades to Ballet, a pass to Winona’s Indoor Park The Playground, tickets to a Page Series show, or a certificate to Nate & Ally’s Frozen Yogurt.

In addition to the Open House, Dancers ages 5+ are invited to register for a Pre- Audition Nutcracker Audition Workshop during this time frame.

Nervous about Nutcracker Auditions?

Thinking of auditioning for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company’s 2018 Production of The Nutcracker, but you are not sure what to expect in an audition? Attend one of our pre-audition workshops on Aug. 22 to help you get comfortable in this unique setting, and learn a short dance combination in a mock audition while learning both audition fundamentals and etiquette. For advanced dancers, this workshop is an opportunity to get back into the studio prior to audition day. 

Are you ready to FALL into the Arts?

Just as the leaves and seasons change, so does our programming. We are so excited to share a glimpse into our exciting Fall programming that we are in the midst of planning. Please click on the image below to explore our Fall 2018 Catalog. Registration will open soon. We hope to see you soon!


Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts
1164 West Howard (10th) Street
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-453-5500
Fax: 507-453-5507


The MCA offices will be closed March 30-April 2nd, 2018

Monday - Tuesday
9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Thursday - Friday
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Building and Galleria open during programming

sponsor logo

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.

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