A nonprofit organization

$19,640 raised by 147 donors

100% complete

$14,000 Goal

Mission & Vision

Penumbra honors the emotional, physical, and spiritual power of Black cultural expression to advance racial healing.

Penumbra empowers Black communities and allies through excellent live theater, robust equity programs, and culturally-informed wellness services. Our unique strategy cultivates transformative racial healing through interpersonal belonging and community connectedness.

History & Legacy

Founded in 1976, by celebrated scholar, Lou Bellamy, Penumbra has contributed significantly to the diversification of American theatre, to the leadership development of scores of BIPOC activist-artists, and to the employment and skill-building of thousands of Black professionals. For generations, we’ve invested our resources to ensure that Black people can create meaningful work, cultivate their crafts, practice leadership, and support their families.

Penumbra garners national acclaim with a remarkable portfolio of nearly 200 plays and over 30 premieres, serving 40,000 patrons and 5,000 students annually.

The artists who have called Penumbra home are groundbreaking change-makers who bind our community together through their leadership and fellowship. They include:
Peabody-award winning actor Roger Guenveur Smith
Laurie Carlos and Marion McClinton
US Poet Laureate 
Rita Dove
Pulitzer Prize-winner 
August Wilson
Jamecia Bennett
Academy-award nominee 
Jevetta Steel
“Empire” star 
James T. Alfred
McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist 
Seitu Ken Jones
McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist 
Faye Price

Photo cred: Caroline Yang Photography

Center for Racial Healing

Building upon its 47-year history, Penumbra has expanded its mission and impact to become a center for racial healing -- a performing arts venue, wellness retreat, and learning space developing new work for social change. 

Penumbra is a statewide resource and national beacon for individuals and organizations seeking to promote racial healing. Based on decades of community engagement along with our own independent research, our community defines "racial healing" as a restorative process for individuals to bravely and lovingly contend with the severities of racialized experiences in America.

Photo cred: Andrea Ellen Reed Photography


In response to community feedback, we expanded our programs in 2020 to offer audiences experiences through our arts, equity, wellness, and youth programs that are relevant to their needs:

The Arts
(changing narratives)
Racial Equity
(nurturing leadership)
(building power)
(investing in the future)

We continue to present excellent productions from the Black theatre canon, as well as new play commissions and panel discussions. 

Helping individuals build comfort, dexterity, and stamina for racial equity work is essential to our long-term strategy for sustainable social change. 

We are continuing to develop a full fleet of culturally specific healing and wellness services and are rolling out our first public wellness programs this fall, starting with our facilitated, affinity-based Racial Healing Circles.
Our newest program, PRIDE (Positive Racial Identity Development and Empowerment), combines arts, equity, and wellness for the benefit of youth.

Photo cred: Caroline Yang Photography

Support the Future

Photo cred: Andrea Ellen Reed

Your gift helps us realize something that serves all of us. Whether you are a longtime champion of the work we do or new to our organization, you are part of our success story. Together, we are building upon our 47-year legacy, extending the impact of our mission, and making truly transformational change in Minnesota and beyond.

Organization Data


Organization name


Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education Community

BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving




270 North Kent St
St Paul, MN 55102


651 288 6780

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