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Artists Respond: Equitable Rural Futures

The murder of George Floyd and other Black lives at the hands of police, increased polarization across geographies and ideologies, the rise in emboldened white supremacist groups, and the disproportionate impact of the COVID crisis on people with disabilities, has led to necessary conversations and action that advance equity and racial justice in rural communities.

To support the creative work that is essential to this movement, Springboard invites artists and creatives in rural places and small towns in Minnesota to propose projects that center the perspectives and experiences of people who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Color), Native, LGBTQIA+, and/or People with disabilities in rural and tribal communities, create safe and supportive spaces for connection, confront truth about historic harms, bring non-dominant stories into light, and/or address racism, homophobia and/or transphobia. Whether using music and dance, food, craft and traditional art, public art, fashion and design, the mail or local media, we know rural artists can play an important role in helping their communities imagine and build a more just and equitable future for all.

Culture bearers, makers, artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, performers and other creatives in rural and tribal communities of 25,000 people or less in Minnesota are invited to apply for project support of up to $2500, with priority given to proposals led by people who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color and/or Native, LGBTQIA+ people and/or People with disabilities. Application deadline is Friday, April 2 at 11:59pm. See the full application below!

Artists applying for this opportunity should already have a strong connection with the community of focus – through yourself, someone in your family or close network, or other existing relationship.

We will be funding 4 - 5 projects of up to $2500. These project funds are open to any artist living or working in rural Minnesota. Projects will be selected by a group of rural artists and leaders who are BIPOC, Native, LGBTQIA+ and/or People with disabilities, with direct experience working with rural communities.

Our priority will be to support projects that:
- Are led by or co-created with BIPOC, Native, LGBTQIA+ and/or Disability communities.
- Are led by artists who have direct connections to the community of focus, whether because they live there, work there or have a strong connection that demonstrates an understanding of the community’s current approaches and stakeholders in equity efforts.

Types of projects may include but are not limited to:
- Creating safe and supportive spaces for rural BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ people and/or People with disabilities to be in community together (in-person, virtual or otherwise)
- Native Land Recognition
- Zines or writing collections
- Recipe exchanges or culinary projects
- Programming partnerships with local media
- Virtual live or pre-recorded activities/events
- Participatory projects like letter exchanges, collaborative poems, videos etc.
- Visual displays or temporary public art (murals, lawn signs, chalked messages, billboards, etc)

Grant amount: Each grant will be up to $2500. Funds may be used to compensate the artist or others for time, materials, technology, etc. For teams, the lead artist will receive all the funds and be responsible for distributing payment to other artists.

This is a modest stipend and we value your time and talent so please think of projects that you can reasonably do with the time and money available.

Applicant eligibility:
- You consider yourself an artist, creative, storyteller, crafter, musician, or other creative person or culture bearer.
- You live or work in Minnesota or the 11 Native Nations that share the same geography.
- You live, work, or have a connection with the rural or small town community in which your project is taking place.
- The community/place is in a rural or small town in Minnesota of 25,000 people or less, outside of the seven county metro area.
- Eligible artists may only submit one application.

Project Requirements:
- Must abide by COVID social distancing guidelines or use other means such as online platforms, text message or snail mail.
- If activities are in public or private space, you have permission/agreement to use that space/those spaces.
- Projects may not promote or denounce specific political candidates, parties or partisan campaigns.
- Projects will vary in length and number of activities, but must take place between May 1 and October 31, 2021.
- All activities must be free to participate.

Selection Criteria: Projects will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- What is the potential impact for more visibility and support for people who are BIPOC, Native, LGBTQIA+ and/or People with disabilities; and/or for community change, conversation or learning?
- Is the lead artist connected to the community the project targets?
- If the project is not online/remote, does it follow social distancing guidelines?
- Do the people involved have the capacity and ability to complete this activity?

Timeline:
- Optional Virtual Info session: Friday, March 5, 12:00pm - 1:00pm (session will be recorded).
- Application deadline: Friday, April 2 at 11:59pm.
- Acceptance notifications: Wednesday, April 21.
- Mandatory projects meeting (virtual) on Friday, April 30th, 12pm - 2:00pm
- Once approved, artists will be given a contract.
- Payment will be received within two weeks of signing the contract.
- Activities must take place between May 1 and October 31, 2021.

Questions via email will be answered on a best effort basis: michele@springboardforthearts.org

Cover photo: Ms Lexi D's Catwalk Party in Fergus Falls, organized by DomFreq productions. Photo by Eric Santwire.

Springboard Staff

Rural Program Director

This opportunity is supported by the Blandin Foundation.
Blandin Foundation Logo

March 5 Info Session

This info session is designed to answer your questions about eligibility, applications, process, and more.

Register here

Artists Respond: Equitable Rural Futures Application

The full application for the opportunity is below. Please prepare your materials beforehand, this form will not save your responses until it is submitted.