Update Regarding COVID-19

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Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts

Private Music Lessons 

Dance Classes & Camps 

Theatre Programs

Visual Arts



For all ages!

We are living in strange and unpredictable times, however we want to assure you that no matter what MCA will be here for you to provide arts opportunities to help get through these time both mentally and physically. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak the doors to the Valencia Arts Center, our brick and mortar home are open on a very modified schedule. However, our dedicated staff and faculty have been working hard to bring the arts, routine, and community right into your living room (kitchen, bedroom, or garage).  We are continuously evaluating and innovating and exploring a variety of offerings ranging from in-person at Valencia Arts Center, in-person outside, self-paced low and no tech experiences, and virtual classes. We successfully held in-person dance classes Aug- Nov. and since Jan. 25, 2021 in addition online and self-paced programs. Students participating in in-person classes will be required to follow our strict COVID Code of Conduct. Please click on the tabs below to explore our current programs and resources.

Fall 2021 Placement Auditions

Fall 2021 Placement Audition Class Schedule

New this Fall MCA invites all dancers aged 7+ who are interested in dancing with us this fall to come to a placement class. These low key classes will help ensure students get placed in the right level to help them grow. Due to interruptions in dance instruction during COVID-19 MCA envisions reorganizing some of our levels slightly. This is a perfect time for new students to give dance a try or for dancers who have took some time off to come give it a try. 

There is no cost to participate in the placement auditions. Dancers who are auditioning should follow MCA Dresscode for the dance class they are taking. If a dancer does not have access to dance clothing please contact the MCA office at mca@smumn.edu or 507-453-5500 to borrow gently used items.

If you are unable to attend but interested in dancing with us in the Fall, please contact the office prior to Aug. 16th. Please read the descriptions below carefully to determine which audition is best for you/ your dancer. If you have questions contact the office at mca@smumn.edu or 507-453-5500.

Monday, August 16 (Contemporary/Modern/Jazz Placement Day) 

5+ years of Jazz or Modern   3-4:15 pm Studio 1

Beginner to 2 years of Jazz or Modern (8+ years old)

2-4 years of Jazz or Modern   5:30-6:30 pm

Tuesday, August 17 (Tap Placement Day) 

5+ years of Tap   3-4:15 pm Studio 2

Beginner to 2 years of Tap    4:30-5:15 pm     Studio 2  

2-4 years of Tap   5:30-6:30 pm Studio 2

Wednesday, August 18 (Ballet Placement Day)

5+ years of Ballet 3-4:30 pm Studio 1

Beginner to 2 years of Ballet (7+ years old)    4:45-5:30 pm     Studio 1    

2-4 years of Ballet 5:45-6:45 pm Studio 1

Thursday, August 19 (Hip Hop Placement Day)

3+ years of Hip Hop  4-5:15 pm Studio 1

Beginner to 3 years of Hip Hop  (7+ years old)    5:30-6:30 pm     Studio 2    

Theatre Classes & Productions

Wizard of Oz

Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre will be back for the fifth visit to Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. Area students ages 7-18 are invited to join the cast of “Wizard of Oz.” This original Prairie Fire Children's Theatre adaption is a musical production is the tale about an unjust prince, a gypsy curse, and a young girl who sees beyond appearances. Any student registered will be cast in this week-long production. No prior theatre experience is required. All cast members are required to participate in the audition process on April 22 to determine their role. Cast members MUST be available for rehearsals April 25-29, Monday- Friday, 4-8:15 p.m. and performances on Friday, April 29th, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 30th, at 2 p.m. Performances are in MCA’s Academy Theatre at the Valéncia Arts Center.

Professional actors/ directors from Prairie Fire Children's Theatre will play The Scarecrow and Wicked Witch but the rest of the cast will be filled in by Winona area students. Rolls filled by area youth include: Dorothy, the Tinman, the Lion, Toto, the Munchkins, Glinda, the Yellow Brick Road, the Monkeys, the Winkies, the Green Guard, the Traders of the Emerald City, the Wizard of Oz, Aunt Em & Uncle Henry. All students who register will be cast, but will participate in an audition process before being assigned a role. The fee to participate is $75 (need-based scholarships are available).

The community will be invited to the performances on April 29 at 7:00pm and April 30 at 2pm. Tickets are $8 for Adults and $5 for students (Tickets-on sale during MCA business hours April 25-29 and 1 hour prior to performances at the door. Cash or check only.)

All rehearsals and performances will follow MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.


Private Music Lessons

student playing piano

We are excited to announce that we have shifted to offering private music lessons online and we are now accepting online registration for new students for most instruments. Now is the time to finally spend a little time with that piano that's been sadly sitting quietly in the corner or guitar that has been collecting dust in your basement! 

As with in-person lessons you may purchase lessons in a 4, 8, or 12 lesson package (ranging from $17-$19 per 30 minute lesson). We will be happy to shift lessons to in-person lessons once we can safely do so. No fees are paid until we connect you with an instructor. Learn more about MCA private lessons and instructors.

What you need need at your house to have a successful online lesson:

  • your instrument
  • a device with a camera and microphone (internal microphone should be fine unless you need to be far away from your device to be at your instrument.
  • optional: headphones or external speaker  
  • a wired connection (most reliable) or a strong wireless signal (around 1.5 Mbps for upload speed).  A 4G connection traditionally works as well.

Register Now!  

*In-person private lesson instruction will start to return slowly beginning May 2021. All students and instructors will be required to follow the MCA COVID Code of Conduct.

Dances from the Nutcracker Auditions

We are excited to announce that we will be holding auditions on Saturday, September 11th for Dances from the Nutcracker, this will be a more COVID friendly and flexible version of the Nutcracker featuring your favorite characters from the Nutcracker. Dancers aged 6 and up is invited to audition. There is no fee to audition, but dancers who are cast should be enrolled in one dance class this fall session, will be required to pay a cast fee that help cover choreography instruction and costume fees, additionally families will be asked to complete volunteer duties or pay an opt out fee.

The COVID situation will be constantly monitored, but at this time all dancers will be masked for auditions, rehearsals, and performances. Performances will be held in the beautiful Page Theatre around Dec. 1-5, 2021 to a reduced capacity audience, with a streaming option. Check back soon for a Q & A about auditions and the performances.

Audition Schedule - Sept. 11th at MCA

9:30 am = Doors up/registration

10:00 - 10:30 am = 6 year olds

10:00 - 11:15 am = 7 year olds

10:45 - 11:15 am = 8 year olds*

11:30 - 12:30 am = 9-12 year olds* 

12 - 5 pm** = 13+ years old (Warm up class to be held prior to auditions from 12 - 12:45 pm)

*Please note that some dancers may be asked to stay to participate in the next audition time slot.

**Dancers in this audition group may be held later or released early depending on the number of audition participants.

Creative Aging - Art Programs for 55+

Watercolor Workshops

Explore basic watercolor techniques including masking, wet on wet application, and learn about various painting supplies. Students will be given step by step instruction to complete a finished floral piece during each session. Sign up for one or both! Have fun, let go, relax, explore your creative side and enjoy the magical world that is unique to watercolor!

Adults (55+): $24/workshop (includes supplies)


  • Workshop 1: Wednesday, July 14 | 10:00am-12:30pm
  • Workshop 2: Thursday, July 15 | 1:00pm-3:30pm

Instructor: Faye Schoen

Location: Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts' home, Valencia Arts Center

Please note that MCA's COVID Code of Conduct will be followed during these in-person workshops for the safety of faculty and students.



Learn More about Creative Aging

Virtual Art Classes

Colored Pencil Techniques

Did you know that there are a multitude of special techniques that can be applied using colored pencils? Creating highlights, shading, blending, shapes, and more. Each week will explore a new topic, techniques and artist(s). Participants who are interested will be invited to exchange postcards with classmates featuring their artwork.

Suggested class supplies: set of colored pencils (24 colors or more is ideal), sketch book, pencil (an ebony pencil is ideal), eraser, black felt-tip or fine liner pen, & straight edge (such as a 12 in. ruler). Optional extra supplies: colorless bending  pencil, blending stump (tortillon), & gel pens. For postcard mailing: you will need card stock, recycled materials or premade postcards, (3"x5" or 4"x6") and postcard stamps which are .36 per stamp.

Day/ Dates: Mondays, April 12- May 31
Time: 7-8 pm
Instructor: Lisa Douglas
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $25

Doodle Club (Ages 13+)

Wednesdays 7:30 PM

Dates: Jan.6- April 28

Instructor: Lisa Douglas

Fees: Free (students will need a pen (preferably a thin felt tip pen or marker), pencil, eraser, paper, and a round object for tracing such as a canning lid or tuna can.)

Intergenerational Playful Postcards (Ages 55+)

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is excited to offer “Intergenerational Playful Postcards”- a class aimed to bring together older adults and Girl Scouts in the Winona Area. Registration for adults (ages 55+) is now open. Registration for Girl Scouts opens on May 1. Get creative and have a little fun sending and receiving colorful postcards! Color with glittery gel pens, collage with washi tape and more using a postcard to be sent to a local Girl Scout or adult as a canvas. Students will receive a kit of materials including everything needed- all you will be asked to do is explore new art techniques, then create and send a postcard a week.

Adults (55+): $12 (includes kit)

Girl Scouts: $5 (includes kit & fun patch)

Dates: May 30-June 29

  • Adults will receive weekly emails with lesson and prompt.
  • Girl Scouts will meet weekly on zoom from 9-9:30am on Saturdays June 5, 12, 19 and 26.
  • A zoom social will be held for all participants on June 29 at 6:30pm to meet and share experiences.

Kits Include: 6 postcards, 4 stamps, 2 fineliner pens, 2 gel pens, 2 rolls of washi tape, a stencil, and instruction booklet.

Instructors: Brianna Haupt (adults), Catie Deysach (Girl Scouts)

Adult registration open Now. Scout registration opens May 1.

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund, Aroha Philanthropies, and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

Other opportunities to work with MCA through our amazing partners: (registration for these programs is handled by the partner and may require you to be a member of a specific group or live in a specific area, please click on the opportunity to learn more about the programs and our partners.

Caledonia Public Library- Art programs for all ages (ongoing)- Learn more about art programs at with Caledonia Public Library.

Elder Network- Exploring Oil Pastels (monthly on second Tuesdays, Feb. 9- May 11, 1:30-2:30)- Learn more about our oil pastel class in partnership with Elder Network.

Saint Mary's University Alumni (ongoing art programs)- Learn more about upcoming art SMUMN Alumni and Family Art classes.

Virtual Performances

Don't miss viewing these special premiere's in real time on both our MCA  Facebook Page or You Tube Channel.

Aug. 14- MCA Virtual Music Division Concert


Elder Network & MCA Partnership

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is thrilled to be partnering once again with Elder Network to offer an art workshop suitable for all family members, care givers, and care receivers to spend an hour together in their home creatively. The class will be exploring colored pencils and will be interactive and run live through ZOOM. No art experience with oil pastels is needed, however for those that participated in Elder Network and MCA's Intentional Doodle or oil pastel series will find this class a perfect next step in their artistic journey. Below are the class details.

Elder Network Winona County offers Creative Aging “Color Yourself Calm” class.
Did you know that there are a multitude of special techniques that can be applied using colored pencils? Creating highlights, shading, blending, shapes, and more. Barb Parker with Elder Network and Lisa Douglas of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) partner up for this real-time art class delivered over Zoom, so you can get creative right from the comfort of your own home. So get ready to color your way to calmness as you explore new art techniques and topics, while setting aside time to create and socialize.
No experience is necessary and all participants receive a kit with the needed supplies including a pack of 24 colored pencils, gel pens, paper, black fine liner, and more.
This will be an 8 session series, over Zoom, every other Tuesday from 2:30PM-3:30PM. The first class in on August 3, 2021 and the last class will be November 9, 2021.
The cost for the series is $24.00 and this includes the price of the kit.
To Register: Please contact Barb Parker at Elder Network to sign up for the class at either (507) 452-0850 or barbp@elder-network.org.
Please mail or drop off your $24.00 to Elder Network, 902 E. Second Street, Suite 321, Winona, MN 55987 before July 15th.
Funding for this class is provided through grant money from the Winona Community Foundation.

About Elder Network: 

Elder Network was founded in 1988 in Rochester Minnesota. Their mission is “Individuals impacted by the limiting effects of aging have an optimal quality of life.” As a are a local 501c3 nonprofit, they serve primarily three counties in Southeast Minnesota; Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona. However, their educational offerings and support groups are open to anyone that would like to attend. Elder Network has developed seven non-medical programs that support seniors and their caregivers. We are a well-respected organization providing non-medical elder care which isn’t provided by other organizations doing similar services. They are proud that to network with other organizations so that we are able to support seniors and their caregivers through service or referral. Elder Network's outreach extends to all regardless of elder traditions, cultures or religions. These programs include Senior Advocacy, Education & Support, Companion Services, Respite Care In-Home, Peer Support, Friendly Visitors, and Transportation.

Partnership with Caledonia Public Library for Houston County Residents

Arts programs in collaboration with the Caledonia Public Library

Arts Opportunities for All Houston County Residents 

The Caledonia Public Library and Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, are excited to announce a a variety of virtual and self-paced programming for both youth and adults. Programs will include virtual storytimes, valentine creation, Doodle & Relax sessions and Unsolved Art Adventures. These programs have been created to encourage creativity, inspire learning, and foster community. All of these events are FREE to all. Accompanying kits are available to Houston County residents through the Caledonia Public Library.  For more information visit the Caledonia Public Library Facebook Page or Caledonia Public Library YouTube Page.

Homeschooling/ At-Home Learning Resources

We realize that the world has turned upside down over the past few months and that many more families will be homeschooling or virtual schooling during 2020. As always we will be here to help provide arts education to the community, including daytime options for homeschoolers. Thank you to everyone who filled out our online surveys in August. We hope that you are excited about the daytime, self-paced and evening offerings that we are offering this Fall that can help you meet your learning at home needs. On August 22 we hosted a Homeschool Q & A session via Zoom, please click here to view the recording. If you have ideas for desired programs please feel free to email them to: mca@smumn.edu.

MCA Winter 2021 Programs before 3pm:

Click Here to View Full Descriptions 

Beginning Hip Hop- Virtual Dance Class. Jan. 26-April 20: Tuesdays- 2:15-3 PM (ages 6+)

Private Music Lessons- Virtual (anytime) or in-person (after Sept. 21)- Arranged at a time convenient for student & instructor (all ages)

Self-Paced Art Kits- Explore MCA's 4 unique Art Kits. Mystery Art Kit & Hours of Art Kit & On-Demand Classes- all kits available while supplies last.

On-Demand Tap Units- These pre-recorded tap classes for Beginning (MCA Tap 4 Kids & Tap I Level) Intermediate (MCA Tap II Level) and Advanced (MCA Tap Levels III-V) provide challenging and fun warm-ups, technique instruction and combinations that can be executed at home. MCA has tap shoes and tap boards that can be checked out to local students as well as tap boards that can be purchased.


Exclusive MCA Community Facebook Page

This group is for current (within 1 year) MCA students and their families. During the COVID-19 outbreak we plan to use this group to help us share and create together and inspire each other on a daily basis. 

Request to Join


The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is incredible! My children have truly enjoyed being part of the dance-arts community at MCA.  The instructors are skilled artists whose passion shows through as they deliver a developmentally-appropriate curriculum in a child-centered and caring way.  All families and community members are always welcome at MCA and encouraged to be part of the arts in Winona. Thank you MCA and MCA staff and volunteers.


MCA Parent

The MCA combos help me step out of my comfort zone and be with people outside my school.  And I got to play a new instrument. There is no pressure to be awesome, just do the best you can.


Jazz Combo Student

While attending the Winona Arts Camp I learned that I wasn’t shy after all!


8 Year-old Student

Percussive Music

Percussive Music

Calling all adults ages 55 and older! Join MCA’s Kayla Jannsen in percussive music, using your hands and feet to feel the beat and exploring the world of drumming and percussion in a fun and relaxed way. Through hand drums and other percussive instruments, this class will give you a chance to experiment with music in a low-stress and new way. This course is designed for students who have never taken percussive instrument lessons or have taken lessons a long time ago. The training in this class intends to create musical experiences that will enhance your rhythm skills and also your life.

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Sam Wersch: MCA’s Collegiate Impact

Sam Wersch: MCA’s Collegiate Impact

Learn about the journey of Saint Mary’s University student Sam Wersch while he studies Musical Theatre Performance and Dance. Coming into his Junior year, Sam is preparing for multiple roles in MCA’s Dances from the Nutcracker that will be performed in December of 2021.

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Dances from the Nutcracker Cast Announced

Dances from the Nutcracker Cast Announced

Thank you so much to everyone who came to auditions on Saturday. We are so pleased to announce the 2021 cast of Dances from the Nutcracker, it is going to be a fabulous show. If you have been cast please do not forget to initial that you accept the role on the print out in the lobby at MCA or on the call board at SMU or let us know at mca@smumn.edu if for some reason you cannot commit to the role(s) you have been cast. We look forward to seeing everyone (cast member & parents of those 18 and under) on Monday, Sept. 13th, 5:15-6:15pm in the Academy Theatre at the mandatory meeting.

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Dances from the Nutcracker Auditions

Dances from the Nutcracker Auditions

We are excited to announce that we will be holding auditions on Saturday, September 11, 2021 for Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Dance Repertory Company Theatre’s Dances from the Nutcracker, this will be a more COVID friendly and flexible version of the Nutcracker featuring your favorite characters from the Nutcracker. Dancers aged 6 and up is invited to audition. There is no fee to audition, but dancers who are cast should be enrolled in one dance class this fall session, will be required to pay a cast fee that help cover choreography instruction and costume fees, additionally families will be asked to complete volunteer duties or pay an opt out fee.

read more

MCA is a proud member of the following organizations and programs:


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

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

E-Mail: mca@smumn.edu

Contact Us


Fall 2021 Hours (Aug. 31-Nov. 5)

Monday- Thursday- 8am-6:30pm

Friday- 8am-3pm

Saturday- 8:45am-1pm

Closed Sept. 6, 2021

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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