From our rural headquarters in Fergus Falls (located in West Central Minnesota), Springboard’s Rural Program provides technical assistance, regional and national convenings, residencies, and training that help bring visibility, resources and support to rural artists, creatives, makers and culture bearers.
Our Rural Program also supports rural community leaders and organizations to develop local systems and programs that bring artists into critical conversations, engagement and storytelling about the future of small towns, micropolitan cities, tribal communities, and other rural regions. This work is customized based on community needs, budget, and capacity.
The Rural Regenerator Fellowship supports long term learning and exchange across rural geographies and provide financial support to creative rural leaders so they can think big as they grow, shift or expand their leadership efforts. With the inaugural cohort starting in October 2021, the Rural Regenerator Fellowship will bring rural artists and creatives together with rural organizers and other cross-sector leaders for learning, exchange, and problem solving around issues facing rural communities. Applications for the 2022-23 Rural Regenerator Fellowship will open in spring 2022.
Since 2013, Springboard for the Arts' has hosted more than 1500 rural arts practitioners from across the country to share learning and build solidarity around artist-led rural community development. Our latest gathering, the Rural Futures Summit, was hosted in June of 2023 and brought together over 100 artists, creative organizers, culture bearers, and thought leaders for 3 days of connection and exchange, making art and music together, and building solidarity around the challenges and opportunities of rural creative leadership.
A partnership with Otter Tail County Solid Waste, "Sustainability Studios" are intergenerational, creative gatherings that invite the public to use art and innovation to reduce everyday waste. This ongoing series aims to educate and encourage small but significant lifestyle changes that contribute to regional and global sustainability while celebrating our region’s unique cultural heritage.
Artists on Main Street is a partnership with Rethos: Places Reimagined (formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota) which promotes and supports the leadership of artists in addressing the challenges affecting Main Street communities today. Current participating communities are: Faribault, Mankato, and Winona (2018 cohort) Northfield, Olivia, Wabasha, and Willmar (2019 cohort) Cloquet, Cook, Two Harbors and Mahnomen (2020 cohort). Artists on Main Street is supported by the Bush Foundation.
Our Fergus Falls Artist Resource Lab is located in downtown Fergus Falls, on Lincoln Avenue. We offer individual artists and small organizations access to services, equipment, and meeting or event space, in an informal, self-directed environment.
The Year of Play was a multidisciplinary, artist-led initiative that used arts and culture to inspire play for all ages in Fergus Falls while celebrating and making visible Fergus Falls' unique assets, promoting wellness through active living, facilitating community interaction, and infusing a sense of fun and wonder in daily engagements with the city.
To support the advancement of equity and racial justice in rural communities, Springboard invited artists and creatives in rural and tribal communities of 25,000 people or less 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.
Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride is a community development and artist residency program in Fergus Falls which activates cultural programming at or related to the historic Fergus Falls State Hospital, or the “Kirkbride Building.” The residency program offers professional and creative placemaking tracks for artists.
Founded in 2011, Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biennial event that gathers rural artists, arts organizations and community and economic development leaders from the upper Midwest and beyond. This 3 day event strengthens rural connections across the country, builds power and visibility to rural creative leaders, and celebrates the role that artists play in creating resilient and equitable rural places.