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I am so thrilled to share that on October 2nd Springboard officially opened our new offices and community space on University Avenue in St. Paul. What was once a vacant used car dealership amid a sea of asphalt has been transformed by artists and community members into a dynamic, welcoming space, and we are so excited to share it with you.

From an idea that sprouted nine years ago through the last four years of our capital campaign, this project has brought thousands of people and hundreds of organizations into its creation process. Now, as our doors open in a more permanent way, I encourage you to stop by soon. As you explore our outdoor green space with a rain garden and walking circle, rooftop, and flexible community hall, I hope you will think about how you will want to use this flexible space in the months and years ahead. Opening is just the start.

I know I am speaking for the entire Springboard staff and board when I say this project stretched our limits and beyond. This was a big leap for our organization, and what held us together was the embrace of friends and supporters. I am so thankful to all of you for joining us on this journey — and for often leading the way.

At Springboard, we never focus on just one thing, because of our commitment to artists making a living and a life, and vibrant and just communities. So even deep into construction we were able to continue our core artist support and community development programs while launching responsive initiatives, like the Covid Emergency Relief Fund, Artists Respond programming, and our guaranteed income for artists pilot in partnership with the City of St. Paul. With your support, we served more than 22,000 artists across Minnesota and the country last year.

With this project almost behind us, I am so excited to come back to you soon and to share our thoughts about emerging priorities and to hear your reactions and ideas.

I say almost because we have not quite finished our $5.75 million capital campaign. A gap of just under $500,000 remains, which will allow us to pay off the full purchase price of the building. The sooner we close that gap, the sooner we can devote all of our resources to our true passion — supporting artists as essential, and helping build vibrant and just local economies. If you are inspired to give at any level, we would be honored to recognize you among our financial supporters. Give here, or be in touch to give: https://www.givemn.org/story/Springbox

If you weren’t able to join us on October 2nd, I’m attaching a few photos below from the celebrations below. I will close with a few lines from a poem written for the occasion and shared at the opening by Hawona Sullivan Janzen, “Who We Were.”

We were the wanting to be an artist people
We are the being an artist people

Won’t you celebrate with me
that every day someone has tried
to make a living as an artist
and with the help of Springboard they did not fail? 

In gratitude,

Laura Zabel
Executive Director

Hawona Sullivan Janzen reading at the opening celebration Heart and Soul Drum Academy at the opening celebration Crowd at the opening celebration

All photos by Destiny Roberts.