Originated and led by Springboard for the Arts, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the City of Saint Paul, Irrigate is a nationally recognized artist-led creative placemaking* initiative pioneered along the Saint Paul portion of the Green Line (light rail transit) during the years of its construction. This artist-led community and economic development approach emphasizes cross-sector collaboration with local private and non-profit sectors to build social and economic capital by engaging local artists, neighborhoods, and businesses in addressing opportunities and challenges associated with change in their communities. In Saint Paul, we have trained nearly 600 local artists in placemaking and collaboration, and supported almost 200 of those artists to do 120 collaborative placemaking projects along the Green Line.
Through Irrigate, we:
- Mobilized and trained artists who live, work and have a personal investment in the area to make positive physical, economic and social impacts along the corridor.
- Developed and invested in permanent local resources and infrastructure to retain and attract artists – of all disciplines and experience – to have a long-term stake and role in communities along the corridor.
In 2014, Irrigate expanded to include the remainder of the newly constructed Green Line route in Minneapolis, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis’ Arts, Culture and Creative Economy program and supported by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Artists, of all disciplines and career stages, who live or work in the Cedar-Riverside, University and Prospect Park neighborhoods were invited to attend a placemaking training workshop and access support for a collaborative project along the line. The last of those projects wrapped up at the end of 2014.
* Placemaking is the act of people coming together to change overlooked and undervalued public and shared spaces into welcoming places where community gathers, supports one another, and thrives. Places can be animated and enhanced by elements that encourage human interaction – from temporary activities such as performances and chalked poetry to permanent installations such as landscaping and unique art.
As Irrigate began to wrap up, we created a free Irrigate toolkit to provide step-by-step guidance for projects of different scales. The toolkit is available on the Creative Exchange, Springboard’s national platform for storytelling and resource-sharing around artists, creativity & community. To date, the Irrigate toolkit has been shared 50 times since it launched.
This program is made possible in part by the following supporters: ArtPlace, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Knight Foundation, Good Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.