"Springboard for the Arts launched a parallel effort for its artist constituency in 2021 with support from the City of St. Paul. Springboard’s was the first such program to support artists, culture bearers, and creative workers specifically. Twenty-five people living in targeted neighborhoods each received $500 per month. Randomly selected participants were drawn from creatives who had received emergency relief through Springboard during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic."
"Through art CSA boxes, Springboard for the Arts looks to keep local art sustainable."
Guaranteed Income Program for Artists Kicks Off in NY – " Also in 2021, the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the non-profit Springboard for the Arts collaborated to administer a guaranteed income pilot that disbursed $500 per month to 25 artists for the same period."
Why supporting Minnesota organizations that help musicians matters – Having access to unrestricted grants truly validates artists like Marin and Bazille who are doing important work, says Michele Anderson, rural director at Springboard for the Arts. “The artists that we support through this fellowship use [funding] for specific art projects, or to maybe go on a tour, but other folks have invested in themselves to fix the car, so that they can travel and do their work or pay their rent,” she says. “Springboard [...] trusts that the artist knows best how to use that money to continue to do their work, as opposed to other grants, where you have a very specific project, and it must be done at a specific time. That's also important, but it can be really limiting when, when we all know as artists our work is about responding to the world around us.”
"For More Than 20 Guaranteed Income Projects, the Data Is In"
Midway Monitor interview Carl Atiya Swanson, Springboard for the Arts Operations & Communications Director.
A feature story on the Melrose Area Arts Council, fiscally sponsored by Springboard for the Arts.
"Northern Spark returns with its original all-nighter format"
"Art Hounds: Northern Spark returns; Ta-coumba Aiken's abstract art on display"
In the Moment: Live from the State Arts Conference
"Saint Paul & Fergus Falls, MN, Rapid City, SD – Racing Magpie and Springboard for the Arts are excited to announce the 2022 cohort of the Creative Community Leadership Institute (CCLI). CCLI is an intensive, in-person, cohort-based training program with real-world practice for artists, culture bearers, community organizers, community development practitioners, and other leaders seeking to deepen their impact in creative community building. This new group has 55 participants from 36 communities across Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and the 23 Native Nations that share that same geography."
"Universal basic income (UBI) programmes are proliferating in the US, with at least 33 publicly or privately funded initiatives providing direct payments to low-income residents by late 2021. Guaranteed income programmes for artists are far less common, but they have gained traction in the past two years. Soon after San Francisco launched its pilot, the Minnesota non-profit Springboard for the Arts began distributing $500 paychecks to 25 local artists in the city of Saint Paul for a period of 18 months."
Springboard for the Arts is mentioned in this Daily Yonder feature on the 2022 Rural Arts Assembly Everywhere.
Everyone needs a sounding board, a helping hand along the way, and Springboard’s Artist Career Consultant roster can be that for you. Springboard is currently offering free Artist Career Consultation sessions to artists and creatives in Greater MN throughout 2022.
Written by Springboard for the Arts Executive Director Laura Zabel, this article outlines how and why artists are essential in pandemic recovery.
Springboard for the Arts is mentioned in an article featuring creative community leaders in Fergus Falls.
Springboard for the Arts is mentioned in the Star Tribune in an article about Elevate Business Hennepin County's assistance of over 700 businesses with free consulting services.
This article features the holiday mural painted by artist Molly McDougall in Fergus Falls with support from Springboard for the Arts.
The official announcement for the installment of interactive art piece "Altitude" by Milligan Studios, celebrating the City of St. Paul’s People’s Prosperity Pilot, a guaranteed income pilot initiated in 2020. Created as part of Artists Respond: People, Place, and Prosperity, a project of the City of Saint Paul and Springboard for the Arts, supported by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.
"We need broad and robust support for local programs that support, train, and sustain artists and culture bearers and their communities, so they can work on imagining and building a future that values individual and community needs not only for safety, security, and health but also for meaning, connection, and love.” —Laura Zabel, Commission member, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts
The Kaddatz Galleries, Springboard for the Arts and PioneerCare teamed up to welcome two resident artists into the PioneerCare facilities through the spring of 2022.
Springboard is mentioned in partnership with Five Wings Arts Council and the Economic Alliance for teaming up to offer an e‐commerce panel for rural artists and makers.
November 18, 2021 – New pilot program offers guaranteed income, specifically geared toward artists launch
“Artists tend to be gig workers," said Caroline Taiwo, who runs the program at Springboard. "They cobble together their incomes. They don’t have as much of a safety net, which we saw during the pandemic." The concept of guaranteed income has picked up steam during the pandemic. This program isn’t even the only one in St. Paul. And with each program comes more data on whether they work. “We see people staying in school longer," said Dr. Stacia West, who runs the Center for Guaranteed Income Research in Philadelphia. "We see decreases in hospitalization. We see decreases in substance use.”
November 11, 2021 – Springboard gives the gift of local art this holiday season through Community Supported Art launch
With the help of Springboard for the Arts’ Community Supported Art boxes, you can make an art gallery inside your home this winter. St. Paul’s Springboard for the Arts is continuing its Community Supported Art program, which brings boxes of local art to doorsteps — one a month in January, February and March. It’s similar to Community Supported Agriculture boxes, where subscribers get fresh produce from local farmers. Three arts organizations — along with a bonus artist — curate the monthly boxes filled with prints, canvas paintings and locally sourced products that will be sent to the shareholders’ door.
October 1, 2021 – Springboard for the Arts opens doors to artists, community at new digs in St. Paul launch
Springboard counts some 200 groups and 6,000 people who have gathered at the defunct dealership since the nonprofit bought it in 2018 for $1.5 million. Zabel began dreaming of the property's possibilities after hosting a party in its parking lot in 2012, during construction of the Green Line light-rail. The $5.25 million project reuses much of the building, with a bright-green, two-story addition on one side. A new elevator leads to a rooftop shaded by solar panels with a handsome view of the State Capitol.
There are only a small number of artists around the country in guaranteed income programs, but momentum is building for more. And the organizers behind the San Francisco and St. Paul pilots hope this early work can translate into lasting change. “I’m really interested in flipping the script on what it means to offer public benefits in this way,” says Caroline Taiwo, director of economic opportunity for Springboard for the Arts, which runs St. Paul’s pilot. “We’re asking how we create substantial policy around this, so folks aren’t slipping through the cracks or left to fend for themselves.”
September 27, 2021 – Springboard for the Arts revved for opening of new home at former used car dealership on University launch
Parked on University Avenue just a couple of blocks west of the Capitol, Springboard for the Arts’ new home is ready to open with a celebration this week. Springboard was located in Lowertown St. Paul for almost 30 years and began its drive to move to the new location nearly a decade ago. The arts organization got interested in the building, which once housed Saxon Ford, when it was looking for a site for an artist project along the Green Line. The vacant parking lot was appealing. “That was the first glimmer there was something of value to this place,” Springboard’s executive director Laura Zabel said early last week. The $5.25 million project was completed this year.
St. Paul, Minnesota and San Francisco, California have rolled out guaranteed minimum income programs for artists that give out monthly, no strings attached payments. Both programs primarily were intended to support artists of color. In St. Paul, the non-profit Springboard for the Arts partnered earlier this year with city government to deliver monthly payments to 25 local artists. To learn more about that program, The Takeaway spoke with Caroline Taiwo, the Economic Opportunity Director for Springboard for the Arts.
April 14, 2021 – How Four Rural Towns Are Building Vibrant Communities Through the Tools of Creative Placemaking launch
“Though the movement towards creative placemaking is relatively new, the idea is not,” says Michele Anderson with Springboard for the Arts. “It is part of human history to shape the places we live to reflect our values.”
According to a press release, funding for West End Flourish is sourced from a $30,000 "Artists on Main Street" grant received by Cloquet, with $20,000 scheduled for the first year of the project and $10,000 for the second year. The grant comes from a partnership between Rethos — a nonprofit dedicated to the use of old buildings and sites — and Springboard for the Arts — an economic and community development organization for artists — that seeks to explore ways to revitalize and restore rural Minnesota areas through art.
As a part of Springboard for the Arts’ project, Artists Respond: Combating Social Isolation, KT started a zine for rural queer people entitled Not Alone, Never Was. The title reflects the idea that, even in places where queer people are—out of necessity—quieter about their identities, there’s always a queer history, or even a queer friendship, to be unearthed.
"Springboard’s pilot program will provide direct, no-strings-attached cash support to artists affected by the pandemic. It will explore the impact of guaranteed income on artists, culture bearers and creative workers at a neighborhood level."
The first $500 payments in St. Paul’s guaranteed monthly income program are being distributed this month, according to a local arts nonprofit. Springboard for the Arts said its member artists will receive the first $500 payments in the pilot program in April. The payments will support 25 artists in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods for 18 months.
"Laura Zabel, Springboard’s director overseeing the project, said that the monthly payments would help artists afford food and rent. The recipients of the stipends will be chosen from a pool of previous recipients of the organization’s coronavirus emergency grants. The director added that at least 75 percent of recipients would be people of color."
"Part of being an artist is so much volatility and so much uncertainty month to month. A particularly interesting question that we want to investigate is: What does even baseline stability allow?"
April 4, 2021 – St. Paul nonprofit launches guaranteed income program for Frogtown and Rondo artists launch
“Our goal with this pilot is, of course, to provide direct, unrestricted support to artists who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."
There is hope, but much has changed for organizations like Springboard for the Arts and TruArtSpeaks. Today, arts organizers dream of a future where we can come back together in person to appreciate displays of creativity. Indeed, attracting venue-shy audiences to public art projects has been a top priority for some. Carl Atiya Swanson, associate director of the nonprofit Springboard for the Arts, predicts the pandemic will result in a stronger desire among audiences to encounter public art on their own terms, on their own timelines. “These are trends that existed before the pandemic, but having to distance and find asynchronous ways of engagement are speeding that up,” Swanson says.
Rather than shy away from the ramifications of social isolation, this issue offers a look at the spectrum of experiences people of marginalized genders are navigating while sheltering in place. Contributors juggle work and caregiving, experience divorce, abuse, grief, and unexpected bright spots. Through self-reflection and compassion for others’ experiences, we light a lantern to guide this period of loneliness. This winter, Springboard for the Arts launched Artists Respond: Combating Social Isolation. With support from Springboard through funding from the Kresge Foundation and the Blandin Foundation, 89 artists from around Minnesota created projects that connect those most vulnerable in the pandemic. Minnesota Women’s Press spoke with four of these creatives about the inspiration behind their projects, and how they are hoping to transform a difficult situation with art and community.
January 24, 2021 - After scrambling to help others in a tumultuous year, the outlook for nonprofits in 2021? Dicey but hopeful launch
As a pandemic and economic recession shuttered theatrical performances, gallery openings and art markets, the St. Paul-based community development organization found itself quickly raising — and rapidly distributing — $1.5 million to help 2,500 artists across the state weather a time of crisis. Springboard will open up their parking lot as a community gathering and performance space this summer. Once the summer sun returns, so will prospects for artists, said Springboard executive director Laura Zabel. “Even with the slowness of the vaccine rollout, artists have gotten so creative, we’re confident we’ll be able to do more outdoor things and things that are distanced, regardless,” she said.
January 23, 2021 - Minnesota nonprofits getting creative to crawl out of COVID-19 financial hole launch
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc for the nonprofit world, from large health systems to small arts and social service agencies and colleges. These organizations must now figure out how to rebuild after vaccines allow public spaces to open and people form new habits. Organizations that rely on big social gatherings have been among those hit hardest by the restrictions of the pandemic. Arts groups, with no audiences, have seen schedules disrupted or canceled. "When the bottom fell out of the cultural sector in March, it really revealed the gaps in the systems for artists that have really existed for a very long time," said Laura Zabel, executive director of St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts, a small nonprofit that works with artists and cultural entrepreneurs, whose Personal Emergency Relief Fund gave out $1.5 million in grants last year, compared to $10,000 in a typical year. The gaps include safety-net holes in health care and unemployment coverage, she said. At the same time, she said, artists have found new and creative ways to reach out and connect to the community, which has helped people heal after multiple tragedies.
January 15, 2021 - Minnesotans discover that art can offer a cure for loneliness in the pandemic launch
Minnesotans combat the pain of isolation with projects big and small. This fall, Springboard for the Arts put out a call for projects combating social isolation, especially within communities that were at risk of it even before the pandemic. The nonprofit has been funding, in $500 chunks, a huge range of efforts, including hand-delivered art kits, online coloring classes and a parking-lot concert series for seniors. Taylor's zine, too. It's part of a broader effort to connect with people, especially seniors, as concerns about COVID keep folks hunkered down at home. Experts say the arts can play a powerful role during a time that has highlighted the long-studied mental and physical benefits of participating in the arts. Nearly a third of the 89 projects the nonprofit funded were proposed by rural artists and nearly half by artists of color. Artists were charged "with identifying a socially isolated community they had some connection to and imagining what they would do to bring people together, to offer a moment of joy or reflection," said Jun-Li Wang, Springboard's associate director for programs.
November 14, 2020- Summit Music concerts still reach out to senior communities – from the outside launch
Summit Music recently received a grant through Springboard for the Arts’ “Artists Respond: Combating Social Isolation” program. Jun-Li Wang, Springboard’s associate director for programs, said “Artists Respond” is giving $500 grants to more than 60 artists who applied for the statewide program. The deadline for artists to apply has passed, and Springboard has already approved about 50 projects focused on higher-risk isolated groups such as people in nursing homes. The projects include writing postcards with messages of hope, a virtual Native beading class from a Leech Lake reservation artist, parking lot performances, a nature photo exhibit and virtual singalongs geared to the audience. Wang highlighted innovative projects that include an artist doing caricatures of patients in a children’s hospital – with the help of a robot – and an artist group providing studio space to shelterless or homeless artists who need a place to work. Applying artists were asked to focus on relationships with socially isolated groups.
For Southwest theaters and their artists, the onset of the pandemic meant instantly evaporated revenue streams, performances halted on the verge of opening and uncertainty about when (or if) venues could ever return to full capacity. Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, has been working overtime to help direct artists toward resources, financial aid, legal help and community support. Since March, the nonprofit has raised over $1 million and distributed $500 grants to more than 2,000 artists throughout the state. Zabel said the pandemic has highlighted gaps in eligibility for unemployment. Those who are classified as “mixed-income” workers, which include freelancers, gig workers and the self-employed, don’t qualify for full unemployment benefits and often get paid inadequately when they do apply for unemployment due to certain technicalities.
With its emergency relief fund and toolkits for organizations, the St. Paul nonprofit has become a national leader, using "lots of little" to make big change in a crisis. Within 24 hours, the bottom fell out. As the pandemic forced closings and cancellations, many artists went from “a place they could feed their families to no income at all,” said Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts. “There was a real sense of fear: How am I going to make my rent? How am I going to feed my family?” So Springboard for the Arts worked as it always does — quickly.
The pandemic has created short-term and long-term uncertainty for artists and arts organizations, but it has also spurred creativity about ways to make and share art. Members of Minnesota's arts community join MPR News host Angela Davis to talk about their new realities and what the future might hold. Guests: Laura Zabel is the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development organization for Minnesota’s artists. Leah Cooper is the co-artistic director of Wonderlust Productions, a theater company based in St. Paul. Shantel Dow is the executive director of the Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, Minn.
When “Shine On Minnesota” aired in May, it raised nearly $150,000 for Minnesota non-profits.
We look to the arts for entertainment, comfort and pleasure -- but they are also an economic engine. According to government analysis, art accounts for almost $900 billion of GDP and over five million jobs. Now, many of these people and organizations face crisis. For our Canvas and American Creators series about rural arts, Jeffrey Brown reports on what happens when the audience isn’t there.
April 13, 2020- How Small Arts Nonprofits in the US Are Responding to the Existential Threat of COVID-19 launch
Across the country, arts organizations seeking relief funding from city agencies find their businesses ignored or poorly considered by local and national plans for recovery. “In this country we don’t have national infrastructure that supports individual artists the way that would be effective in a crisis.” said Laura Zabel. “That said, every disaster is local,” noted Cerf+ Executive Director Cornelia Carey. Zabel leads Springboard for the Arts, an arts organization based in Minnesota dedicated to building community and economic opportunities for artists, runs a pre-existing emergency micro-grant program. The fund, which normally sees about two to four applications a month — $10,000 a year through the program, received 887 applications in March and distributed $192,000.
It won’t be summer as we know it, have ever known it or want to know it again. Many events – big, beautiful, summer-defining events – were canceled or postponed over the past few days. Information about Springboard for the Arts’ Personal Emergency Relief Fund is now available in Spanish, Somali, White Hmong and Green Hmong. (White Hmong and Green Hmong??? Think British English and American English.) Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for canceled work that was scheduled and lost due to COVID-19. You can help feed the fund at GiveMN.
April 5, 2020- Work. Shouldn't. Suck. LIVE: The Morning(ish) Show with special guest Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts. launch
On today's episode, Lauren Ruffin and I, Tim Cynova, are joined by Laura Zabel. Laura is currently the executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development agency run by and for artists. She was recently, and deservedly, honored as part of the powerhouse YBCA 100 cohort, is currently a Common Future Fellow and a Creative Placemaking Fellow at Arizona State University, and has a deep love and expertise with shoes, which has been externally verified with one of the funniest LinkedIn recommendations I've ever read. Without further ado, Laura, welcome to the show.
March 27, 2020 - Springboard’s Laura Zabel on COVID-19: ‘It feels like utterly new territory, and we feel like this is our purpose’ launch
Over its 42 years – first as a program of United Arts, then as an independent nonprofit – Springboard has evolved into a wealth of programs and resources for artists in Minnesota and beyond.
March 26, 2020 - Slammed by Coronavirus Shutdowns, Minnesota Artists and Actors Grieve and Try Not to Panic launch
The COVID-19 shutdowns hit artists hard because many of them rely on side jobs in the service industry, working at markets and fairs, performing for events and teaching, said Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an arts organization based in St. Paul and Fergus Falls. “The bottom fell out” of all those work areas “in a matter of hours,” she said. Springboard has been working as a sort of clearinghouse for Twin Cities artists who are out of work due to the COVID-19 shutdown. “That’s what we’re here for,” said Springboard’s executive director Laura Zabel. The organization is gathering information on resources for artists.
As many events and gatherings are being canceled as a result of CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, one area that is being hit hard is the arts. Currently, the CDC recommends canceling community-wide gatherings of more than 250 people, as well as canceling gatherings of more than 10 people for organizations that serve higher-risk populations. Springboard for the Arts is also closed and staff are working from home. While they’re still offering some services like individual artist career consultations, their public events have been postponed. “For the time being, all of our public-facing events are postponed,” says Michele Anderson, rural program director for Springboard. “We’re just following all of the Department of Health guidelines for that, but we are, at the same time, looking into doing online workshops, which should be announced in more detail soon.
The Twin Cities area is among America’s most vibrant creative communities, full of theater artists, musicians, visual artists, dancers and writers, among others. So what happens when there are no performances or exhibits? There is no income, and that’s currently the chief source of stress for area artists. St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts has long had a lifeline available for artists in desperate straits called the Emergency Relief Fund for Artists. And you can contribute to it and enjoy some music while doing so.
March 20, 2020 - 'It's going to be devastating': Minnesota arts, artists brace for coronavirus fallout launch
Amid a flurry of cancellations, Twin Cities arts groups and artists brace for a major financial hit. “When that work is cut, there’s no protection or safety net. The money just disappears,” said Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, a St. Paul nonprofit. “For artists it was just so fast and so immediate and so all-encompassing. Springboard for the Arts has long offered an emergency relief fund for artists rocked by a natural disaster or a health care crisis. They opened it up last week to Minnesota artists who have lost income due to coronavirus cancelations, up to $500 a person. The nonprofit put $10,000 into the fund and has asked for donations, raising more than $28,000.
In the past week theater companies, museums and performance venues across Minnesota have been forced to shut their doors in order to comply with state and federal directives. For many artists and cultural workers, the shutdowns have meant an immediate end to their income for the foreseeable future. In response to a social media query, one author said she estimates she’s lost tens of thousands of dollars due to canceled events at libraries and schools. A museum employee stated she's being furloughed at the end of the month. And many artists who work three or four different jobs in order to piece together a living testified they have had all of those jobs eliminated in a matter of days. Laura Zabel is executive director of Springboard for the Arts, a nonprofit that supports artists with education and aid. Zabel says because artists are typically self-employed or contract workers, many don't qualify for unemployment insurance.
Feeling stir crazy from your social distancing? Here are some ways to help others in need. Springboard for the Arts has set up a fundraiser to aid its personal emergency relief fund, which generally supports artists facing career-threatening emergencies. With the proliferation of cancelled events due to the coronavirus, Springboard has decided to expand the fund to include artists, contractors, and freelancers that have lost income due to cancellations.
Associate Director Carl Atiya Swanson joins a panel of artists to provide resources regarding some of the top issues and challenges individual artists are facing at the onset of the pandemic. Carl shares, "It's critical to the long-term recovery of the creative sector that creative workers, contractors, and freelancers are included in all federal, state, and local relief efforts whether that's through employment insurance, tax credits, cash assistance, student debt or mortgage payments suspension, or other mechanisms. The amount lost in contract cancellations, especially with the work in the service and retail industry drying up, it runs easily into the hundreds of millions of dollars and that's more than any one donor or organization or foundation can do."
Appearance on Sanctuary: Arts and Activism with host Melissa Olson on KFAI to talk about the impact of the pandemic on artists.
Springboard for the Arts newest artist in residence is Jaron Childs, a photorealistic painter and art conservator based in Wisconsin. His artistic journey began with his maternal grandmother, who was a porcelain painter, and then encouraged further when he was 16 years old, living in Waseca, and a teacher drove him to see an art gallery in the Twin Cities. Since then, Childs has worked to find his style and voice in art, today feeling more confident in his work even if he feels like he hasn’t achieved the kind of perfection he aspires to.
Lake Region Arts Council (LRAC) celebrated their third artist cohort with a gallery at M State Fergus Falls, organized by ceramics professor and curator of the M State permanent collection, Lori Charest. “It’s an intensive experience for artists that want to increase their professional skills and usually they want to start marketing their work and look at the business side of being an artist,” says LRAC executive director Maxine Adams. Through the cohort program, artists were able to take individual counseling sessions through Springboard for the Arts as well as take workshops there, network with other artists, create exhibits, get help with media and marketing, and more. “The value of it is probably at least a thousand dollars or more per artist if they had to pay out of pocket for it,” says Maxine. “All that we ask is that you’re committed to your art form and in participating in the program.”
All sorts of people want to teach us how to become leaders: your local Chamber, Republican players, Democratic players…. And for something perhaps completely different, the artists at Rapid City’s Racing Magpie want to lead you to leadership. The gallery, creative space, and consulting firm for Native artists partners with Fargo’s Plains Art Museum and St. Paul/Fergus Falls’s Springboard for the Arts to offer the Creative Community Leadership Institute.
In every phase of transit development, arts and culture strategies can be employed to inform and enhance the process. Here are examples from three different transit projects around the country at the beginning, midpoint, and end stages, and how artists, transit agencies, and community groups have used creativity to help communities envision more equitable outcomes.
“How do I know my value?” That was a question posed by an artist in a recent workshop around Artists Statements, and if you stop for a moment, the question is profound. On one hand, there is a practical answer, one that we at Springboard for the Arts have been seeking to help artists answer for years. In our Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists curriculum, there is a whole section on pricing your work. You, as the artist, have to know what your target income is from your creative work, what the costs of your materials and labor are, what your overhead costs are. It takes research, and yes, you’ll have to do some math.
Five years ago St. Paul-based Springboard for The Arts, a community development organization anchored in the arts, used the installation of the city’s new Green Line light-rail line to bring beauty, fun and community engagement to the construction corridor. Dubbed the “Irrigate” project, artists were given grants to execute everything from murals to performances along the future Green Line. As the Twin Cities gear up for a possible future extensions of the Blue Line through five northern Minneapolis suburbs, Springboard carried out a similar project, called Cultivate Bottineau and named after the light rail transit line of the same name, that started last year and ran through this fall. In partnership with Minneapolis’ Hennepin County and the McKnight Foundation, Springboard’s artists’ community planned and executed community-focused art projects along the future Bottineau transit route during the planning and pre-development phases of the light rail extension.
The Artists on Main Street program in Willmar wasn't just about creating art to beautify downtown Willmar. Its larger goal was to create community in downtown Willmar, to bring people of all backgrounds and ages together. "It was really cool to see the variety and the diversity that we had throughout the program," said Sarah Swedburg, Willmar city planner and coordinator of the Artists on Main Street Willmar. Artists on Main Street, part of the overall Minnesota Main Street program and run by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in partnership with Springboard for the Arts and funded by the Bush Foundation, provides funding and resources to member cities for the creation of art-based physical, economic and social solutions for downtowns.
Founded in 1991, Springboard for the Arts’ mission is “to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life.” With offices in both Fergus Falls and Saint Paul, the nonprofit organization provides numerous resources for artists, including workshops, career consultations, and even healthcare insurance. Since the spring of 2015, “Hinge Arts” in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, connects artists and community through an innovative program providing studio and living space along with the tools they need to create and dream.
As part of its arts and culture coverage, ‘PBS NewsHour’ sent correspondent Jeffrey Brown to northern Minnesota in early October. Brown spoke with guitarist Sam Miltich and caught a performance of his jazz quartet at the VFW in Grand Rapids. He spoke with Springboard for the Arts’ Laura Zabel at the Reif Performing Arts Center during the latest Rural Arts and Culture Summit, and other Minnesotans who are making a life in the arts.
Americans have been drawn to rural areas in recent years partly due to the appeal of a higher quality of life. These regions have not traditionally been known as art hubs, but some residents say that trend is changing. Jeffrey Brown reports from northern Minnesota, where artists and community leaders are fighting the national narrative of rural America in decline.
In past years, Springboard for the Arts hosted this biennial conference on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Morris. But Springboard, a nonprofit that connects artists and communities, wanted to see what the event could look and feel like in a new spot, said Michele Anderson, the organization’s rural program director. Grand Rapids, with its state-of-the-art performance venue and its downtown art gallery, its high-profile indigenous arts community and its new city commission, seemed like an ideal spot, she said. The city is also honest about the area’s challenges, including an economy historically dependent on mining and forestry.
Firestarter Videos: Six Rural Women Share Stories of Community Building – To close out the National Rural Women’s Summit in Greenville, South Carolina, six women shared stories of working to encourage, build and strengthen their rural communities, including Michele Anderson, Springboard for the Arts Rural Program Director.
Springboard wants wandering artists to return home – One Minnesota organization working to buck that trend is Springboard for the Arts. Their homecoming residency program invites anyone who grew up or spent a portion of their youth in any of the nine counties served by the Lake Region Arts Council (Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin) but now live elsewhere to participate in a 4-8 week project-based program. The residency is open to all artists: writers, performers, visual artists, musicians, and mixed media artists.
Springboard for the Arts has announced the 2019 20/20 Fellows. The 20/20 Fellowship awards an unrestricted $15K award, plus a $5K professional development stipend to Black, Indigenous, People of Color and Native artists of any discipline or career stage who are creating tools, pathways, and systems of support for artists in their communities. This year’s fellows are painter Leslie Barlow, artist Kaamil A. Haider, poet Tish Jones, and designer and dancer Felicia Perry.
At ArtPlace, we’re surrounded every day by evidence that arts and culture can be powerful forces for positive change in communities across our country. Less frequently, we’re reminded that this truth is not always a straightforward one; in fact, it has many facets. In 2018, Springboard for the Arts and Helicon Collaborative co-developed and released a report and framework called Creative People Power that explores many questions central to the success of creative placemaking undertakings—questions like: What conditions make community-improving art projects possible in a city or neighborhood? and: What systems support artists, culture bearers, and creative thinkers in dreaming up and delivering such projects?
Springboard for the Arts, which has offices in St. Paul and Fergus Falls, also closes for a week in July and a week in December. It also offers four paid weeks of parental leave and cut its PTO system, instead of having the 19 staff track their own hours. "I think people are hungry for different models of HR," said Springboard's Associate Director Carl Atiya Swanson, adding that employees want to be trusted to do their work, not confined to a set eight-hour day. "People really want flexibility and control. ...It makes them feel valued."
RuralX is underway in Mitchell. One of today's speakers is Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an organization working to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information and services they need to make a living and a life. Zabel presents "Creative Power People" today at 1:35 p.m. on the Bush Foundation Main Stage at RuralX.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $1 million investment in Springboard for the Arts, moving the organization closer to establishing a new St. Paul location on the Green Line. Knight Foundation’s investment in the redevelopment of a new site for Springboard at 262 University Ave. W. in St. Paul represents an anchor investment in its $5.85 million capital fundraising campaign. Through the campaign, Springboard aims to transform a long-empty former car dealership into a visible home for art and community along St. Paul’s Green Line, a central corridor of the city. The new location will create a permanent home for the organization, which has rented space in St. Paul’s Northern Warehouse Building in Lowertown for more than two decades.
Cedar-Riverside leaders and residents are using art to counteract negative perceptions of the neighborhood and bring community members together. The Connecting Community project, with support from Springboard for the Arts and the West Bank Business Association, took place last weekend and featured art, music and film from the neighborhood. By bringing together local activists and artists, event organizers aimed to counteract Islamophobia and connect youth with mentors.
A short film about Cedar-Riverside aims to bridge cultural gaps between the community’s elders and youth and highlight positive stories in the neighborhood. Local artist Sisco Omar began filming last month with in collaboration Springboard for the Arts and the West Bank Business Association. The film will feature profiles of community members and a conversation between youth and elders. Omar hopes allowing the community to present their own stories will counter negative media coverage.
Springboard For The Art’s original workshop series, Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists, employs a professional development curriculum that teaches business and entrepreneurship skills—pricing, grant writing, funding, and business plan essentials—to artists of all disciplines, including literary, visual, and performing arts.
St. Paul’s Springboard for the Arts, which is in the process of remodeling a former car dealership on University Avenue to become its new home, is one of six organizations to receive substantial awards from the Bush Foundation. Springboard, which has offices in St. Paul and Fergus Falls, will receive a $440,000 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. The money, announced Tuesday, goes to organizations “with a track record of successful community problem solving.” Springboard executive director Laura Zabel says the grant, which will be applied to the building project, “feels like perfect timing for us.”
Also amid downtown’s charming brick storefronts: a performing-arts venue and a few arts organizations, including the local arm of St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts that opened in 2011, all within the span of a few blocks. You can plunk out a couple of notes on a painted piano on the street, or play spot-the-detail in the chalk-art figures that pop out from unforeseen corners. Fergus Falls has woven art into the fabric of what it is, which Beck sees as a contrast to a sleepier town of years back.
Springboard for the Arts’ new home on University Avenue in St. Paul will have front-door access to the Green Line, neighbors it’s been working with like Little Mekong and Rondo, lots of natural light and a rooftop view of the Capitol dome. But Springboard’s executive director, Laura Zabel, is most excited about the parking lot. She has a vision for the cracked asphalt, litter-strewn expanse just outside the huge garage doors in the building that once housed Saxon Ford. Zabel sees food trucks parked there. Community celebrations. A marketplace.
Springboard for the Arts, which has spent the last 27 years promoting the role of art and artists in making vibrant cities, is buying its first permanent home, the St. Paul, Minn.–based nonprofit announced in a press release. The $5.1 million project — including $1.5 million for the purchase of a former car dealership in St. Paul — will give Springboard a new headquarters along University Avenue, where the organization has been doing work for years. The building will also include an artist market and community and event space.
Springboard for the Arts, a nonprofit that connects artists and communities, recently bought a former car dealership at 262 University Ave. W. from R & N Corp. for almost $1.5 million, according to state records. In all, Springboard plans to spend $5.1 million to renovate the space for its needs, the Star Tribune reports. The nonprofit's leader, Laura Zabel, envisions the garage doors opening up to a market and a rooftop with views of the State Capitol and the Cathedral of St. Paul. More office and workshop space is in the plans, too.
The space will be used for community events, expanded programming, and new market opportunities during the planning and pre-development phases, before permanent renovations and improvements are made. An Open House event for community members to see the space and connect to opportunities for programming will be held from 10 a..m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23. All are welcome. “For over 27 years, Springboard for the Arts has supported our vibrant community, while shaping a national conversation about cultural policy,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “I am excited about the creative development of this new space, which will allow them to further provide dynamic community engagement and innovative arts programming.”
Springboard for the Arts is on the second story of a brick building in St. Paul. But it is a ground-level type of organization. The nonprofit connects artists and communities, encouraging cities to see creative people as a cornerstone in successful community development. Soon, Springboard will model every one of the strategies it’s been espousing at its own building. In May, it purchased a vacant car dealership on W. University Avenue.
Saturday’s Writer’s Path to Publishing workshop brought with it more than 60 writers from across the region, from those just beginning to some published attendees. There were 7 different ZIP codes represented at the workshop, with some travelling from Morris, Ortonville, Deer River and Brainerd to join together as a literary community for a day. The afternoon consisted of three sessions where attendees could learn the building blocks of a story, a panel of regional published authors and a panel of publishers.
This past summer, Springboard for the Arts and People’s Center Clinics and Services collaborated on a new project. The idea was to extend the community wellness mission of People’s Center beyond its walls and into a Minneapolis neighborhood through art, creativity, and culture. The result of this work was a summer of projects that transformed a community clinic into a community hub: a home for creativity, collaboration, social connection, and joy.
Bloomington’s approach is part of the city’s collaboration with Springboard for the Arts, a not-for-profit organization that connects governments with artists as a resource for urban planning and public engagement. “We’ve learned that [government officials] are open to working with artists, but it’s too hard. We were getting calls saying, ‘where do I find an artist? How do I know how much to pay them?’” says Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts. “I always say I want it to be as easy to work with an artist as it is to rent a bounce house."
Caroline [Taiwo, Economic Opportunity Program Director for Springboard for the Arts] talks with host Steve Boland about how borrowed capital can be a part of building opportunities for artists, how the Kiva model works, the expanded loan limit and matching funds from Springboard (up to $25,000 loans with matches from Springboard toward the Kiva pool), business consultation for artists considering loans and more.
A young Native American woman and her partner were on their way to make a doctor’s appointment at a Minneapolis clinic this summer when they came upon a pop-up trailer on the front lawn. The woman stopped for a while to paint a dream catcher with artist Soozin Hirschmugl. “She made art for a long time,” said Hirschmugl. “Before she left, her partner told me how nice it was for them to sit with me, because people don’t often take time with others.” Hirschmugl and 16 other artists were hired by the People’s Center Health Services to spend several hours on its lawn every Thursday afternoon for four months, in a pilot program to engage with the community about health in a less disease-focused and more organic way. The People’s Center is one of a number of health clinics experimenting with programs that conceive of “health” more broadly. Part of the People’s Center’s mission is to engage its community in health education and outreach. But it has found that more traditional mechanisms like classes and workshops had not been well attended.
Solid creative placemaking needs to recognize and build the power and agency that exists in the place already. At Springboard for the Arts, we are seeking durable relationships between residents, businesses, and organizations in a neighborhood. We want creative placemaking to create the conditions for system change that is driven by and for the community. There are many approaches to creative placemaking. Some start with planning, public art, cultural facilities, or artist housing. To build real power and agency, however, we think you need an approach that starts with artists and community organizing.
Small Town Reclaims Former Mental Hospital as Arts Haven The Fergus Falls State Hospital in Minnesota now is home to an artists residency program and festivals "Every small community is trying to find a way to set themselves apart right now and have a unique story," said Michele Anderson, rural program director with Springboard for the Arts, a community-development group that hosts an artists residency program and annual arts festival on the hospital grounds.
Some of the cultural conditions that make our arts scene so vibrant are our longtime commitment to infrastructure, robust nonprofit and philanthropic sectors; and collaborative and thoughtful planning. Unfortunately, these parts of our culture also have a downside: risk aversion, inclination towards talking rather than acting, and entrenched and slow moving power structures—these, and other, factors contribute to our slow progress on the big challenges we are facing. These challenges demand creative thinking, new questions, and bold doing, which are all things that artists can help bring to the table. Our entrenched disparities are a thorny, wicked, systematic problem that will take more than just artists working by themselves to untangle and undo, but I am committed to the proposition that artists, as community members, through their creative processes, have a role to play in this change.
St. Paul-based Springboard opened its rural outpost here six years ago. From its corner storefront in what has become a bustling downtown, staff members train Fergus Falls artists to run their small businesses, helping with everything from copyrights to Pinterest, while attracting artists from around the country for weekslong residencies. This summer, the nonprofit announced a new twist on that artist residency program — calling for artists who grew up in the area and moved away to “reconnect with their home region.” “It’s helped change the narrative in this community,” said Mayor Ben Schierer. “There’s an optimism now, there’s an energy that we can do these things, we can make this a more vibrant place. The arts have been a huge part of that.”
With all this talk about how to bridge big divides — between red and blue, rural and urban — could the answer be art? Rural poets and painters, actors and activists gathered in the middle of the Minnesota prairie this month to say “yes.” About 400 attendees at the Rural Arts and Culture Summit grappled with how the arts might connect people across cultural and political chasms during a three-day conference put on by Springboard for the Arts and the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota, Morris. In panels, poems and performances, artists expressed optimism.
Arts and Culture is a large topic and I got a large dose of creativity, ideas and rural pride at last week’s Rural Art and Culture Summit in Morris. This conference is held every two years hosted by the Springboard for the Arts , Forum of Regional Arts Councils and Center for Small Towns with sponsors such as the Bush Foundation and the McKnight Foundation. This year’s conference was sold out with a waiting list and included an even wider geographic area. It brings together individual artists, arts organizations and small town representatives to discuss how to use the arts to develop the rural economy and create a better life for rural residents. One specific example from an Iowa town that I’d love to see happen here is using an empty downtown building to host an artist residency.
People want to live in places where they can create meaning, build connections, and see opportunity – all of which are things that artists can help build and maintain. However, many times when we talk about art in community development, we’re limited to percent-for-art programs, or decoration at the end of a project. Through our work, we know that by having artists and their creativity at the table in more substantive ways, we can build more equitable and healthy communities.
Minnesota arts groups have nabbed $4.4 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA announced Wednesday $82 million in awards to theaters, writers, music groups and other arts organizations. In a press release announcing the 1,195 grants -- its second round of funding for the fiscal year -- the endowment emphasized its reach: The grants "support arts activities in all 50 states," in urban centers and rural towns. Minnesota got 30 grants for a projects across the state. Arts Midwest, a Minneapolis-based regional organization that often partners with the NEA, nabbed the two biggest awards: $1.4 million for its work across the region and $1.2 million for its Shakespeare in American Communities program.
During her time in Fergus Falls, Murphy had the opportunity to visit Springboard for the Arts, take walking tours of downtown and the Kirkbride, and have lunch with Mayor Ben Schierer. “There is a real hopefulness with the people I’ve talked to and a pride in the community,” Murphy said of her time in Fergus Falls. “There’s an interest in the different parts of economy, education, health care and the lakes. The value placed strongly on clean water, in many ways, is ahead of the state.”
I attended a series of 5 classes, offered by Springboard at no charge and presented in my local library, April through May. The title of the group of classes was “Work of Art. Business Skills for Artists.” I had not planned to attend since I had been a freelance graphic designer for the better part of thirty years. I thought I knew… well, I didn’t. From a review of how to tailor the artist resume to legal considerations, pricing and time management, to funding options, I left with knowledge about how-to and artist resources, to build my retirement career into a solid retirement business.
In 2011, Fergus Falls received its first NEA grant, a modest $25,000, which was enough to launch a multi-year cultural project, with the help of St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts. Importantly, the NEA grant helped to attract additional funding, much of it from private foundations, to the tune of $1.2 million; and the success of the work that has been done in this community—led by artists but in collaboration with the people who live there—has attracted another $120,000 from the NEA since the initial grant.
So he might never gotten his current business—creating custom ceramic funeral urns—off the ground if it weren’t for a local program called Springboard for the Arts. It was there that he attended their Work of Art business skills classes for artists and started developing a business plan. Later on, he created a logo and website with their help. “I really didn’t know that there was a professional side to creating artwork. I thought if I made it and put it online I could sell it,” he said. “They really helped me, they grounded me.” Springboard was even able to help him secure a Kiva loan to create a studio space in town.
Springboard for the Arts is an organization that develops and builds opportunities for art and artists. The summit started in 2011 as a “venue for people to talk about uniquely rural arts and culture,” said Michelle Anderson, Rural Program Director for Springboard, “to get what they need to thrive, share stories and knowledge. It was filling a gap in programming that wasn’t there.”
Speaking at the same Star Tribune-hosted discussion, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum pointed to the significance of federal funding in schools and youth-oriented programs: “Arts education teaches young people to think creatively, to work effectively with others, to bring fresh ways of thinking to STEM disciplines like engineering and math. The NEA has been critical to funding those kinds of programs, and you just can’t put a price tag on that.” Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, put it simply: “This is ultimately about engagement with our own culture, an expression of who we are and what we value.”
With the $25,000 NEA grant, the St Paul, Minnesota-based arts non-profit, Springboard for the Arts, which calls itself “an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists”, opened an office in Fergus Falls and was able to launch a multi-year cultural project. Since 2011, the organisation has been given a total of $145,000 in NEA grants—but has also received over $1.2m in funding from private donors, such as the McKnight Foundation.
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), in partnership with leading national arts and government organizations, today announced the Delta Creative Placemaking Initiative to strengthen the Delta economy and improve the quality of life for the region’s 10 million residents. DRA will contribute nearly $460,000 to stimulate economic and community development efforts in local communities through the Delta’s arts and culture sectors. “This pilot program recognizes the importance of incorporating the arts and culture sectors into economic and community development efforts to enhance the quality of place and quality of life in Delta communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. “At DRA, we understand that we must support our region’s cultural and creative economies to assure the rural way of life will continue as we build more entrepreneurial and inclusive communities. That is why we are partnering with national experts in the field who can lend their experience to help us promote the arts and culture that make the Delta region one of the most iconic places in the world.” Partners included in the effort are: ArtPlace America, the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Development Organizations, Springboard for the Arts, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, among others.
Blayze Buseth is one of the many local artists impacted by Springboard's presence. He was in high school when he took his first class there—a course called Business: Work of Art, designed to help artists learn the business aspects of making a living as a professional artist. The series is tailored to artists in rural communities, teaching them how to market their work nationally and internationally, thereby generating enough revenue to continue living local as full-time artists. Springboard helped Buseth source and secure a community-funded loan, which he used to launch his studio and his business creating and selling custom monuments. "We're lucky to have this place where artists can stop in and get directed toward what their mission is," Buseth says.
The business and entrepreneurial aspect of your work—that’s all knowable stuff! A lot of things that may seem daunting are actually just processes that if you practice them, can make your life a lot easier. Springboard for the Arts offers a workshop series called Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists, which starts with career planning, goes through things like pricing, time management, marketing and legal considerations, and ends in business planning. We give away the curriculum for free as a toolkit, so the information is out there, and you can have it!
For over 100 years, Fergus Falls, Minn. was home to the Fergus Falls State Hospital, a 500,000-square-foot mental institution built under the Kirkbride Plan. The facility was the area’s largest employer until it closed in 2006. In 2014, Springboard for the Arts received a $100,000 ArtPlace National Creative Placemaking grant to support its Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride artist residency program, in a former nurses’ dormitory adjacent to the main hospital building. Residency participants were encouraged to create projects that foster interaction about the past and future of the building, and illuminate the many perspectives behind the history of mental health treatment, as well as preservation and economic development in rural towns.
We’re in a moment where it’s worth trying and it’s worth using our creative selves and worth working with our creative people to see if we might be able to figure out a different way. A way that’s more supportive of the people who are already there, that builds the social capital that all our communities need, and that can imagine what else is possible in a different way.
For all of their stylistic differences, the members of Springstep Collective came together due to a commonality — they wanted to boost their knowledge of the business side of art. Each enrolled in a series of classes called “Work of Art” at the Excelsior Library developed by Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Before the classes began, Moore and Sweetman had met once to have coffee. Other than that, the five were strangers when they attended the sessions. The classes focused issues such as on how artists can market their work, create websites and price their artwork to make a profit. While those skills make becoming a self-sustaining artist easier, many artists aren’t well-versed in them.
People walking downtown Oklahoma City's sidewalks Thursday might have noticed a little sunshine in the rain. The welcome moisture unlocked more than two dozen “Make it Rain Poems” installed on sidewalks at various locations throughout downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods...A similar project in another community's downtown area prompted the local organization to begin exploring whether it could be done here, and led it to apply for a creative place-making grant from the International Downtown Association and Springboard for the Arts. Earlier this year, Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. received a $5,000 grant for the project, and it turned to a couple of local poets for help.
One way I have been working on my art career is that I have been taking advantage of the Springboard for the Arts: Work of Art Business Skills for Artists Curriculum. I am about halfway through and wanted to share some personal takeaways. You can take the course in person, download the workbooks to do on your own, or purchase the course to watch on DVD. I’d encourage you to take advantage of these amazing resources to cultivate a better understanding of your art career and develop further skills. I’m not affiliated with Springboard for the Arts nor do I get any remuneration for this series of blog posts from Springboard. These are simply some of what I have learned about my own artistic practice and career through working through the materials from Work of Art.
The Brainerd Public Library in collaboration and support of the State of Minnesota's Legacy Amendment funds, Springboard for the Arts and the Crossing Arts Alliance is presenting a free five workshop series called "Work Of Art." The "Work Of Art" series offers business skills and professional development for artists in all disciplines—visual, performing and literary arts. Artists can take the whole series, customized combinations, or individual workshops that best suit their needs.
Laura Zabel, executive director of St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts, said she had multiple friends texting and calling her to describe this scene. After all, her organization, which promotes community and economic development through arts-based programming, made the grant to the neighborhood artist who installed the stained glass. “When you see an installation like this, stained glass painstakingly placed in a fence, how does it make you feel about your neighborhood?” she reflected. “Does it give you a sense that you could change something about your surroundings, too? Does it make you rethink how you feel about those parts—like that stretch of University Avenue—that are seemingly unloved?”
The idea for the interactive sculpture on the trail has been in the works for a while, but really became a reality when the committee reached out to PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Fergus Falls’ local chapter of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). They have worked with Springboard for the Arts on different events and projects before, but this is the biggest project they’ve undertaken together. “We wanted to come up with a way to incorporate everyone’s goals,” Michele Anderson, the rural program director of Springboard for the Arts, said about how the idea for the sculpture came to be, “We had to think of a way to make public art active.”
Fergus Falls will soon have a new sculpture meant for both art and play, thanks to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund. As part of its 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, the fund has awarded a grant to Springboard for the Arts to build a "play sculpture." It will stand at the trailhead of the redeveloped Central Lakes State Trail.
Nature isn’t the only thing beginning to bloom in the spring. A partnership in Fergus Falls is brimming with ideas to promote a healthier lifestyle in Minnesota. The Central Lakes State Trail in Fergus Falls is filled with endless active possibilities. But many drive by the trail, too busy to notice this diamond in the rough. That’s about to change…if the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) has anything to say about it.
“Those big storytelling opportunities for a community to really tell its story in its own words — right now, that seems like almost the most important work we can do,” Zabel said. “I think [Fergus Falls] is a great example of artists leading the way toward new economic development — toward reimagining what spaces and places can be and helping a community think and look forward together in a way that's really directly linked to the economic development of the city, and of the community.”
"The impact of the NEA money on a town like Fergus Falls is significant, says Ms. Zabel. “It is a relatively small amount of investment, but even more important than the money is the symbolism of supporting arts and culture,” she tells The Christian Science Monitor in an interview on Thursday. “The NEA is one of the most important ways that the federal government that it listens to rural communities and it supports rural communities and their sense of culture and identities and very directly their economy.”"
The Work of Art Toolkit published by Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, offer artists a free leg up when it comes to gaining business skills. Gaining business skills can be difficult. Springboard for the Arts, a non-profit arts-services organization, has made it easier with their Work of Art Toolkit, which can be used by individual artists, small groups, collectives, students in professional development courses, and arts organizations.
Springboard for the Arts is a community development organization by and for artists, based in Saint Paul and Fergus Falls. It connects artists with the skills, information and services to make communities vibrant. Creative Exchange recognizes that many local governments, community organizations and arts groups lack the resources to develop programs, so the team offers free toolkits, consultations and networking to encourage building stronger art communities.
Along with partners, Springboard for the Arts, Creative Exchange and Art of the Rural, Ashley hopes to shed light on the work rural-based artists, cultural leaders, and arts organizations are doing at the intersection of art and community development. So far, she has visited artists in Del Rey, California; Ajo, Arizona; Show Low, Arizona; Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico; Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico; Albany, Texas; Edom, Texas; Fayetteville, Texas; Arnaudville, Louisiana; Summit, Mississippi; Newbern, Alabama; Denmark, South Carolina; Lake City; Flyd, Virginia and Whitesburg, Kentucky. All of these communities have populations under 10,000 — the majority of these communities have a population of under 2,500.
The International Downtown Association and Springboard for the Arts will soon have new resources and projects to support creative placemaking partnerships between artists and local business initiatives. Wednesday, Springboard and IDA launch the Guide for Business Districts to Work with Local Artists, and announce six new projects, led by IDA member organizations, to implement creative placemaking projects in their community.
“The ACA is far from perfect,” wrote Nikki Hunt, of Springboard for the Arts, in an e-mail. “Health insurance still doesn’t guarantee affordable healthcare and it’s way too complicated to get and keep insured, especially with the way the market offerings turn over every year. But, a big reason the ACA couldn’t get better is because every critique of the system was turned into a cry to tear the whole thing down.
In 1996, Jennings pursued coaching from Springboard for the Arts, a St. Paul organization that helps artists think like entrepreneurs. He dropped a pile of cassette tapes on the desk of Suicide Commandos frontman Chris Osgood, Springboard’s director of artist services at the time. Jennings asked for help. Osgood counseled him to get a headshot, write a bio and come back with a full-length CD.
In advance of a Springboard fundraiser, Secrets of the City writes, "Springboard for the Arts has become an indispensable piece of our thriving Twincy arts and culture scene, and you can help them out even before we get into the Give to the Max Day mania."
Springboard for the Arts Rural Program Director Michele Anderson has been named one of Fergus Falls’ 30 Under 40 by the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.
Springboard for the Arts’ new office in Fergus Falls is covered by the Fergus Falls Daily Journal: "After a more-than-two-month remodel, the rural branch of a Twin Cities organization has a spacious new spot to accommodate their continued work in the area. On Wednesday afternoon, an array of community members welcomed the Springboard for the Arts Lake Region branch to the Benson Building in downtown Fergus Falls."
The Work of Art toolkit is featured in Business Journals: 5 tips for making a living (and a life) in the arts: "What you want to get out of your career and how satisfied you feel will depend a lot on how you frame and understand success. Don’t let yourself be caught in the frame of a “starving artist,” a view that limits the satisfaction and terms of your success to how much you starve."
Creative Exchange’s toolkits for artist-led community projects are highlighted in ArtsHacker: Your Guide To Great Community Project Guides: "One of the more impressive efforts at placemaking I have come across, Irrigate, is also included. In partnership with the City of St. Paul and the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Springboard for the Arts mobilized 600 local artists in 150 projects to mitigate the impact of a light rail construction project. If ever you have driven by an infrastructure construction site and felt pity for the people whose businesses and residences are suffering from the lack of convenient access, this toolkit will help you help them."
Fast Company wrote a piece on Creative Exchange at Co.Exist: These Toolkits For Artists Teach How To Build Community Through Art: Making that possible is a platform from Springboard for the Arts called Creative Exchange, a place where artists, organizations, and cities can share "toolkits" for creative community building ideas that should spread. “We wanted to give people the tools to make things happen in their community more quickly and give people an outlet to share ideas,” says Zabel. “People are taking ideas and replicating them, or adapting them and changing them.”
Sponsored content on Hyperallergic: Creative Exchange Mobilizes Artists to Solve Local Challenges with Stories and Free Toolkits. To celebrate two years of the platform, Creative Exchange has gathered 46 features into a collection, Field Notes from Creative Exchange. These stories highlight the impact and power of artists in shaping social change movements, reimagining what is possible in our economy and creating new narratives of community power, and are a snapshot and practical teaching resource around community-engaged art.
More highlights from Work of Art, this time at Young Upstarts, in an article 5 Ways Artists Can Work Like Entrepreneurs: “How am I going to make a creative living and a life?” That question can be daunting for artists, writers, performers and musicians at all stages in their careers, whether just starting out fresh, mid-career, or choosing to focus on artistic work full time after a lifetime of balancing it with other jobs. It can feel like a big void of unknowns, with an inner monologue of uncertainty that says, “I make art, then… something happens… and then I make art for a living.”
Musicians using Work of Art get a feature in Music Connection Tip Jar, with 8 Ways Musicians Can Work Like an Entrepreneur: "Make the most of the day: American painter Chuck Close once said, “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.” You can’t make a living as a musician if you’re not making music, so you have to make the time to do the work. There are exercises for you to better get a handle on your time, like taking a time audit of your day to find when you are the most productive and least productive, and structuring your goals as time-sensitive tasks to make the most of the 24 hours you have each day to get to work."
Work of Art is featured in a sponsored post in Hyperallergic titled Learn How to Make a Living as an Artist with Springboard for the Arts’ Free Toolkit.
Director of Movement Building Carl Atiya Swanson went on AM950’s Health Connections show to talk about all things Springboard for an hour-long broadcast.
Work of Art tips were featured in Metro Magazine and distributed via publications in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, in an article Why Artists Need to be Entrepreneurs: “It’s not enough for artists to bank on creativity alone – they need business skills to turn their craft into a sustainable career. Struggling artists who can’t afford an MBA can now learn the ins and outs of finance, marketing, taxes and more through a free online resource called Work of Art.”
Executive Director Laura Zabel was interviewed for Forbes for a feature on Work of Art and artists as entrepreneurs titled, How Entrepreneurship Can Save The Starving Artist: “I think there are a lot of skills that artists have that lend themselves naturally to being entrepreneurial: artists already have a DIY ethic about their work, they’re used to wearing a lot of hats and they understand a lot intuitively about engaging clients and audiences, about collaboration and iteration.”
CreativeBloQ published “5 steps to a successful creative career” based on the Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists release: “As a new business toolkit and video series for creatives is launched, we grab 5 top tips from the founder of Creative Exchange. While there are plenty of books to buy and workshops to pay for, one organisation is filling the gap by launching a completely free, 14-part program and video series aimed at helping creatives and artists build the entrepreneurial skills needed to make a living and a life in their field.”
Artist Community Organizer Jun-Li Wang and Springboard for the Arts board member Noel Nix, Assistant to Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, talked about Roots of Rondo: Black Artists Rising. This project 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.
Springboard for the Arts is mentioned in the Star Tribune in an article about transit for Livable Communities’ certification of local nonprofits seeking transit alternatives, ‘Transit advocacy group is certifying groups going transportation-friendly.’