Community Development



Artists and Aging cohort

Artists and Aging Update
After receiving 35 applications in response to our RFQ, the panel has met and selected the 4 artists/artist teams that will be working with The Citizens League
to inform and inspire the public around issues of aging through the lens of home and community, and how this affects or reveals policy change.

The selected artists/teams are:
D.A. Bullock and Julia Nekessa Opoti
Kairos Alive (Maria Genné, Parker Genné and Nicholas Pawlowski)
Angela Jimenez
Amoke Kubat

After a co-hort meeting to learn about Citizens League work around aging, each artist/team will focus on a different issue in collaboration with Citizens League staff and their organizational partners in aging. The artists/artist teams will then design public projects that increase awareness of the issues around aging and the needed policy change and foster active engagement of more people in the process of change as it relates to aging.

Artists and Aging is a collaboration between Springboard for the Arts and The Citizens League, funded by the Pluribus Project, a special initiative of the Aspen Institute.

Follow this link to find info on the Citizens League Calling Home project.


Our Community Development Program supports, organizes and empowers artists to build reciprocal relationships with their communities, resulting in vibrant, creative, and equitable places.  We believe artists are agents of change and assets to their communities. We provide catalytic workshops, trainings and project management in partnership with city governments, neighborhood organizations, private institutions and other groups that wish to engage artists in community building, economic development, creative placemaking and innovative problem-solving. By addressing opportunities and challenges associated with change locally, in Minnesota, we are able to create customizable models for communities nationally.

Greater connections between artists and their communities creates:

  • New approaches for creative problem solving
  • More liveable neighborhoods
  • Increased cultural and community engagement among diverse members of the community
  • Healthier local economies – jobs for artists and small business development for communities.

Our work includes:

Roots of Rondo
A new initiative, Roots of Rondo: Black Artists Rising, will engage black artists in and from the Rondo community to create collaborative artistic projects that highlight the present, past and future of Rondo over the summer of 2016. The Rondo community is both a physical place and a spirit. Comprising what is now considered the Summit-University neighborhood, Rondo was a thriving African-American community that was torn apart by the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1960s. The community lost its commercial core and many long-standing community members were displaced to other neighborhoods. Yet there is a thriving community that is still present in the area, mostly recognized through events like Rondo Days and the Selby Ave Jazz Fest. Roots of Rondo: Black Artists Rising brings black artists of all disciplines and backgrounds together with cultural organizations, economic institutions and local businesses to showcase the rich legacy and future of the community.
More information and sign-ups to participate and receive email updates here–

Irrigate, an artist-led creative placemaking initiative along the new light rail line in Saint Paul during the years of its construction, originated and led with Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the City of Saint Paul is our largest program that builds social and economic capital by engaging local artists, neighborhoods, and businesses. By mobilizing local artists to engage their community, Irrigate has changed the landscape of the corridor with color, art, surprise, creativity and fun that strengthens community identity and pride, artists’ agency, and economic development.  <click here for more information>

Artist Organizers
In 2013, Springboard launched the Artist Organizers (AOs) pilot program through Irrigate, planting artists in community-invested organizations to contribute their creative skills to making change and strengthening vibrant places. AOs provide skills, coordination and creative thinking to engage community, other local artists and stakeholders, and to create new innovative paths for the organization to achieve its goals.  <click here for more information>

Ready Go
Ready Go
connects neighborhoods, non-profits and businesses to artist-created, mobile tools that are purpose built to pique curiosity and prompt interaction. Ready Go functions as a mechanism (think Equipment Rental or Etsy) that allows artists with proven, existing tools to offer these projects for hire. <click here for more information>

Doer Team
Through Irrigate, we are testing the idea of a “Doer Team,” so named because they DO things.  At team of three Irrigate artists use their creative problem solving skills and artistic sensibilities to assist small businesses on the Green Line with practical solutions to businesses’ issues and opportunities. <click here for more information>

Workshops, trainings and presentations
We design and facilitate customized workshops and trainings for artists, creative entrepreneurs, non-profits and students. Topics include creative placemaking, collaboration and community building, shared visioning, and project design.

Project management and advising
We recognize that organizations and groups may be interested in working with artists, but may not have the tools or capacity to do so easily. When the goal of working with artists is to engage community stakeholders in new ways, we are able to advise and/or manage the artist/project selection and coordination. Recent examples are managing a bike/walk wayfinding project for a neighborhood organization and a community engagement through making art project for Habitat for Humanity.

New ideas

We are always listening and looking for effective ways to connect artists to their communities for mutual benefit, and all the better to do this with partners. In the next year, we will be launching resources that you can tailor to your community. If you have an idea or a query, contact us!

Bring Springboard to You
If you’re interested in bringing Springboard to your community, or have an idea to share, please fill out the Bring Springboard to You form.

This program is made possible in part by the following supporters:  ArtPlace, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Good Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

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