In 2013, Springboard launched the Artist Organizers (AOs) pilot program, 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. Through the course of a year, AOs design, manage and implement two types of projects: 1) Artist Engagement – those that address specific priorities of the host organization that also engage other local artists, and 2) “Solo” – a project that the AO designs with the host that has a public benefit.
Currently, seven partner organizations host Artist Organizers: Trust for Public Land, Saint Paul Public Schools, Project for Pride in Living, Frogtown Neighborhood Association, The CornerstoneGroup, Partnership4Health, and Otter Tail County Historical Society and the Friends of the Kirkbride.
Current Artist Organizers
Soozin Hirschmugl, with Trust for Public Land
A puppeteer and spectacle maker, Soozin is working with TPL on how to encourage more open and green spaces along the Green Line. By engaging multiple artists in animating underutilized spaces, TPL is learning what community values and wants in its public spaces. Soozin
will be also be creating a pop-up park mobile. Check out her blog: http://makecommonspacegreat.blogspot.com/
Vong Lee, with Frogtown Neighborhood Association
Vong, also known as Knowstalgic, is a poet, spoken work and hip hop artist. As Artist Organizer, Vong is addressing how a neighborhood hit by the foreclosure crisis can engage artists to animate and create positive narratives around vacant lots and homes that lead to new uses for lots and attracts new homeowners. Vong’s solo project is to create “Frogtown Beats” with several other local hip-hop producers that captures the vibes of Frogtown.
Oskar Ly, with Project for Pride in Living.
Oskar is a Hmong French-American singer/songwriter, fashion art designer, stylist and creative director. PPL is beginning a city-block development with a public plaza in 2014, and Oskar’s work with artists is designed to animate the vacant lot prior to construction, to engage the neighborhood and from those experiences, impact the form and function of the plaza. Learn more about her work at www.artifynow.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/artifynow
Kristen Murray, with Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS)
As an artist, Kristen uses materials, spaces and question-asking to explore the physical and social world. Kristen’s focus is on creating options for pathways to graduation for students in the Area Learning Centers (ALCs). This year, she is working with other artists and current students to engage alumni from Saint Paul’s ALCs and elevate their perspectives. She is also working with SPPS’s new Personalized Learning team, to highlight the potential for art-making to personalize learning, and to connect teaching artists with students and teachers at SPPS’s ALCs.
Molly Van Avery, with The Cornerstone Group
A performance artist, educator and poet, Molly is focused on Lyndale Gardens, a new development in Richfield, a first-ring Minneapolis suburb. Formerly the site of a garden center, Lyndale Gardens will have housing, a co-op and a public plaza for the town. Molly’s work is to build community interest and input in the public space amenities and programming of Lyndale Gardens to reflect the diversity of Richfield. See her blog at http://www.tcgmn.com/blog/