Updated: 4/18/20

Dear MCA Community,

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has made the decision to suspend face-to-face classes and large gathering for the near future due to the public health issue created by COVID-19.  As an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of MN, Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts has been directed to follow suit to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. At this time all in-person lessons, classes, and performances will be put on hold through July 31, 2020. We will be continually reassessing the situation and recommendations from SMUMN and public health officials to find out the earliest but safest time we can return to regular programming. Until we are able to meet in person, we are happy to report that we have been able to move many of our classes and private lessons online and have new programs and partnerships in development. Explore our online programs below or by clicking here.

Thank you for your understanding during this unexpected situation. We are so sorry for the inconvenience and disruption in your arts education. 


Jamie Schwaba

Managing Director

P.S. During this time, we invite you and your family to join us on social media for educational and entertaining MCA Moments created by our talented MCA community. Click on the social media icons below to take you to our pages. Check back often, as new content is being created daily. If you like what you see please consider making a donation to help support our instructors and MCA during this unexpected closure.

August Online Camps & Classes At-a-Glance

MCA Online Camp, Class, & Event Overview- August 2020

Dance Division

Aug 10-13: Tap Camp- hybrid camp with daily self-paced videos released daily at 10am, daily Zoom meetings and bonus outside in-person class on the final on Friday, Aug. 14, 9-10am. Tap II: Zoom calls 6-6:30pm, Tap III-V: Zoom calls 5-5:45pm 

Theatre Division

August 3-29: Super Happy Awesome News (Virtual Musical)- Full online musical production. Rehearsals Aug. 3, 10, 17, 6:30-7:30pm, one 15-30 minute private coaching TBD, Live Stream Performance, Aug. 29. Ages: 7-16

Visual Art Division

Creating Winona with Oil Pastels- create mini-pictures of your favorite spots. Zoom Classes on Thursdays, Aug. 6-27, 1-2pm, Ages: 55+

MCA Mystery Art Kit- create in place with inspiring challenges and new materials. Self-paced, no tech unique kits created for ages 5- 105 (or younger children with parent supervision), kits available Aug. 1-31.

Music Division

Private Music Lessons- Music Instruction in Piano, voice, string instruments, brass instruments and more provided virtually. Lessons days/times based on students and instructor schedules. All Ages


Fall Open House Week- Aug. 17-22- each day we will have a fun way to explore the arts through virtual classes, activity downloads, performances and more. More details coming soon!!!

Super Happy Awesome News (Virtual Musical) Premiere- Aug. 29, 6pm

Register Now:

Tap Camp 2020

TAP CAMP (Virtual with Bonus outside in-person gathering)

Join us for an exciting week of rhythm! Each day campers will receive a pre-recorded tap lesson including a warm-up, technique lesson, & combinations. Students will then have the opportunity to meet up virtually over Zoom with instructors/classmates each evening to clarify material, learn a bit of history, or concepts to round out their tap education. TAP CAMP will hold new challenges for intermediate and advanced tappers. A free bonus in-person gathering for campers will take place on Friday, Aug. 14, 9:00-10:00 am outside of MCA’s Valencia Arts Center. This gathering will be weather permitting and will follow strict guidelines such as limited numbers of students (no parents allowed), social distancing, and masks worn by all to protect both faculty and students. Parents are welcome to park on Vila St or the Cotter Rec Center parking lot to watch from a car. Students will need to bring along a water bottle labeled with their name & a tap board, or arrange to utilize one of limited tap boards from MCA. Tappers will dance the combinations & choreography they learned throughout the week & of course…. Shim Sham together!!! 

Dates: Monday-Thursday, Aug. 10-13, Bonus event on Friday, Aug. 14 

Time and ages/levels:Tap II:  45 min.- One hour of pre-recorded content daily by 10am and Zoom meetings Monday- Thursday 6-6:30pm, and optional bonus in-person class Friday, Aug. 14, 9-10am (intermediate tap dancers, ages 10 & up and a minimum of  2+ years of experience, younger students by invitation only) 

Tap III-V:  1.75-2 hours of pre-recorded content daily and Zoom meetings Monday- Thursday 5-5:45pm, and optional bonus in-person class Friday, Aug. 14, 9-10am (intermediate and advanced tap dancers ages 12 and up and 4+  years tap experience, younger students by invitation only)


Tap II: $49 (early bird special), $59 (after Aug. 1)

Tap III-V: $99 (early bird special), $109 (after Aug. 1). 

Instructors:  Carter Full, Nathan Graff, and Christine Martin

*Need-based scholarships available, click here for more info. Please contact mca@smumn.edu if you are in need of borrowing tap shoes or have questions about placement.  If you need an affordable locally made tap board for $54 they can be ordered today through our registration system and you will be notified when it is ready for pick-up. These easy to transport boards will be 2x4 ft. Oak finished wood with foam pads to give the board a sprung feel with a clear resonant sound, resembling the photos below. Additionally, a 4 x 4 ft. option is available for $89.

Virtual Musical (ages 7-16)

Our virtual theatre classes and performances have been keeping kids active, connected and creative during these challenging times. These classes provide a positive way to help young people learn to express themselves and explore the world around them while also building important life skills such as public speaking. Check out our exciting virtual theatre opportunities during August

Super Happy Awesome News- Virtual Musical

Calling actors ages 7-16 years old… You are invited to combine their acting, singing, and dancing skills as you perform in a completely virtual musical, Super Happy Awesome NewSuper Happy Awesome News is written to be rehearsed remotely, performed virtually, and shared with audiences online. The storyline is linear, made up of monologues and songs intended to be performed as solos. When these scenes are video recorded and played in sequence, it presents a complete musical theater experience available to any audience with an internet connection.

In Super Happy Awesome News two siblings launch rival good news networks and find themselves competing for the title of happiest news show. Soon, their correspondents are in a whirlwind of ecstatic musical reporting – from joyful weather forecasts, to cheerful cooking segments and blissful political updates! But, when vulnerability starts peeking through the euphoric facade, they’re left wondering: is there room for raw honesty on a super happy broadcast? This new virtual musical (designed specifically to be rehearsed and performed remotely), incorporates real stories from kids and offers a positive outlet for them to express their emotions.

To participate, no experience is necessary, but space is limited to 20 actors/actresses. Students will just need a device enabled with Wi-Fi, recording device (phone, camera, tablet, etc.) and a device to play music. Class sessions and the private lessons will be taught over Zoom.

Online rehearsals are August 3, 10, and 17 (+ one 15-30 min. private coaching arranged by instructor and parent). Live stream performance: Saturday, August 29. Participation is only $39 per student.

Learn More


Online 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!  


Creative Aging - Art Programs for 55+

MCA is so excited to be partnering with the Winona Friendship Center and continuing to offer unique programs geared towards adults ages 55+. Each participant will get a package of supplies to create with over the 4-week period. Registrations can expect to learn new artistic techniques, be encouraged to set aside time to be creative, and feel more connected to others during this challenging time. Classes will be delivered via Zoom. Please see the description below for class details.

Creating Winona with Oil Pastels

We know you love Winona, so now is your chance to create mini-pictures of your favorite spots such as Sugar Loaf and the Winona Bridge. You will learn how to play with color, blending, and design during this one-of-a-kind virtual class.

Day/Dates: Thursdays, Aug. 6-27, 1-2pm

Ages: 55+

Cost: $24 non-members, $22 for Winona Friendship Center Members, (includes all art supplies including a set of oil pastels, art paper, drawing pencil, paint pen, and more, & Winona Delivery or pick-up, Kits can be mailed in the US for an additional $10)*

Instructor: L. Douglas

Location: Online presented in real-time via Zoom (participants just need an internet connection and a device with the free version of Zoom downloaded)

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from MSAB thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund. Need based scholarships are available. 
Register Now:

MCA Mystery Art Kits

MCA Mystery Art Kit

Sick of hearing “I’m Bored”?  We have just the cure… our MCA Mystery Art Kits will inspire and provide hours of unplugged entertainment. No two kits are the same and they are designed with the student’s age  in mind. Each unique kit will contain:

  •  One set of coloring supplies such as oil pastels, colored pencils, paint, watercolor pencils, crayons or markers
  • One binding material such as elmer’s glue, mod podge, glue stick, or masking tape
  • A variety of surfaces to create on such as a postcard, book mark, artist paper, exclusive coloring pages created by MCA staff,  and or construction paper.
  • A Challenge guide created by MCA art faculty to help spark the artist within
  • Other surprise items such as model magic, stickers, DIY masks, or props
  • Links to previously recorded MCA visual art classes  (if you have purchased a kit, here is the link to the password protected special access site.)
  • Invitation to share photos of your creations to be featured on MCA's social media

Dates: Self-paced, Aug. 1- 31 for no contact delivery or pick-up in Winona or shipped anywhere in the US for extra $12 per kit.

Cost: $24 per kit, available

Community Rocks- Community Building Initiative


The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts invites community members to join in a unique community building initiative. Each week we will share  information about an important artist of color and or of an indigenous background and their approach to art. Participants will then use rocks as their canvas to create art inspired by that artist. To take the experience a little further, after each artist bio, MCA will offer a series of questions about identity and art that can be discussed within families and or on a Facebook Page created just for this project to help promote unity and understanding. To cap each week of learning, creating, and discussion off the communit

y is asked to place the rock they created out into the community for a lucky passerby to find. Two optional Zoom sessions will be held for participants to learn about the project, different art techniques and have meaningful community conversations. This program is offered free of charge, but registration is required to receive weekly updates via email and Zoom session links.

Our world and community is in crisis between the continued fight for justice for George Floyd and equality for all and due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We know from both scientific research and experience that art binds. Art brings people together physically—at galleries, classes, museums, performance spaces—and culturally, through its capacity to tell a community’s shared story, to inspire reflection, and form connections that transcend differences. Though we may be unable to gather together physically at this time we hope that this project will help facilitate important conversations within families and our community while also encouraging families and community members to explore art, artists, and the area around us as they create and then disperse rocks for others to stumble upon and through a Community Rocks Facebook group page.

Participants will receive tips and ideas on where to find rocks and what materials to use, but in case you want a little help we have created awesome “Just Add Rocks Kits” that include supplies that can be used by the whole family. Each kit contains acrylic paints, paint brushes, sharpies, Q-tips, mod podge, instruction packet

, and more. Kits are $25 and include free delivery or pick-up in Winona.

Class Details:

Dates: Self-paced program, July 9-Aug. 29, Optional Zoom Meetings, July 16 at 6pm and one TBD in August, optional participation on program Facebook Group.

Ages: All ages are invited to participate, when registering families only need to register one family member.

Materials & technology needed: Rocks & decorating materials. To participate in optional live Zoom session internet and a wi-fi enabled device required. Weekly lesson plans will be shared through email. If this is a barrier please contact MCA and we will provide a hard copy of the plans.

Fee: Free, but registration required, Optional “Just add Rocks Kit” multi-person kits can be purchased for $25 (after registration an email with kit purchase info will be sent out)

Don’t live in Winona?

No problem, we would love for families or other communities to join us. Participants outside of Winona will still be invited to share on our Facebook Group and or Zoom calls, the weekly content, art instruction, and conversation prompts are not specific to Winona. However, some of the conversation and rock hiding location discussions are intended to be. Want to bring this to your group or community? We would be happy to design a program for you. For more information please contact Jamie Schwaba at jschwaba@smumn.edu.

Partnership with Caledonia Public Library for Houston County Residents

Virtual Arts for All Houston County Residents 

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is excited to announce a second session of virtual programming for both youth and adults in collaboration with Caledonia Public Library and Mainspring. These programs will run through out July and August. Due to COVID-19, this collaborative group had to cancel in-person creative classes previously scheduled for spring and summer 2020. However, thanks to the dedication of funders and partners, we are excited to bring virtual creative and cultural classes to you at home! All of these events are FREE to Houston County residents, but registration is required.

This project is made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

Houston County Youth Art Club: Exploring Birds
Do you love to paint, draw, & sculpt? Youth ages 5-10 are invited to flex their creativity muscles while creating and connecting with others virtually. Each week you will explore new artistic materials and concepts. This session will focus on sculpting and drawing techniques.

Each participant will receive their very own home art kit including model magic, colored pencils, DIY binoculars, and more. Pre-packaged materials for this class will be provided for free, thanks to our funders. Once registered, you will receive an email with details for curbside pick-up or delivery. Registrants also receive a series of short downloadable youth yoga classes and Houston County Activity Book created by Mainspring.

Day/Date: Wednesdays, July 8-August 12
Time: 10-11am
Ages: 5-10
Fee: FREE for Houston County Residents, but registration required
Instructors: Lisa Douglas
Houston County Storytime
Join the Caledonia Public Library and Instructors from the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) of Winona during this special story time just for Houston County residents. Miss Jess will introduce fun dance and music based activities and read a special story each week that will invite young children and their families to be active and creative along with familiar faces while also practicing social distancing.

Registrants also receive a series of short downloadable youth yoga classes and Houston County Activity Book created by Mainspring.

Day and Dates: Tuesdays, July 7- Aug. 11
Time: 10- 10:30 am
Ages: geared towards ages 0- 6 years
Fee: FREE for Houston County Residents, but registration required
Houston County Adult Art Class: Doodling and Beyond
Join together with other Houston County residents virtually each week for a live and interactive art class. Students explore using shapes, lines and patterns to create artwork and even relax your mind. Students will receive an at-home art kit to help them explore doodling and drawing techniques on fun surfaces including bookmarks and postcards using fun materials such as gel pens and sharpies.
Pre-packaged materials for this class will be provided for free, thanks to our funders. Once registered, you will receive an email with details for curbside pick-up or delivery. Each registered participant will also receive access to a series of short adult mindful stretching and chair yoga videos created by Mainspring to enjoy at home.
Day and Dates: Fridays, July 10- Aug.14
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
Ages: Adults
Instructor: Lisa Douglas
Fee: FREE for Houston County residents, but registration required
This project is made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.
Elder Network & MCA Partnership

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is thrilled to be partnering 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. This Intentional Doodling class will be interactive and run live through ZOOM. During this session students will explore using shapes, lines, and patterns to create artwork and even relax the mind.

When: Aug. 11, 2020

Time: 1:30-2:30pm

Where: Online via ZOOM.

Instructor: Lisa Douglas

Fee: Free

To Register: Please RSVP to Barb at Elder Network, 507-452-0580 or barbp@elder-network.org, Open to all Winona County Residents.

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.



Virtual Performances

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

August 29th, 6pm: Super Happy Awesome News- Virtual Musical featuring MCA students ages 7-16

MCA Moments & Dance Stay Strong Videos

We have created two playlist to help you and your family get through COVID-19 and even come out stronger and smarter.

MCA Moments- are music, theatre, dance, and visual arts activities that will fill your creative tool box full of arts tips, tricks, and boredom busters.

Dancers Stay Strong- Since you can't get to the studio, we are bringing dance to you... here we are sharing dance combinations, movement games and conditioning exercises to help you burn off energy stay strong and learn.

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