Author: Colleen Powers

Handbarrow harnesses and shares the power of stories

People have always told stories—to share lessons and wisdom, to try to explain life’s mysteries, to entertain one another around a fire. And stories are the foundation for how cultures see...


Lightning Rod is performance for the present moment

Imagine a group of artists gathering: writers, directors, and performers; many of whom have never met before; some who don’t even call themselves “artists.” They’re handed news headlines from...


Saying “Yes” to 4th Street

In a downtown core experiencing change, the 4th Street Market District partnership leads creative experiments & looks to the future It was a summer Sunday afternoon in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and...


Write Denver publishes the stories of a city’s people

What if, when you walked through your city, you saw words other than “No Parking” and billboard slogans? What if you could look around your neighborhood and read the words of your fellow citizens?...


Springfield Regional Arts Council helps youth grow up in the arts

For eight weeks each summer, the Creamery Arts Center in Springfield, Missouri is home to a whirlwind tour through the arts. Students from kindergarten through eighth grade try ballet one week, opera...


Public Transformation celebrates & contemplates art in rural America

Artifacts line the wall of Outpost Winona: handmade art and everyday objects, each labeled with the name of a place: railroad spikes from Lake City, South Carolina; a cookbook from Alliance, Nebraska....


Art programs help veterans create new memories

This is the second of a two-part feature on art and veterans. Read first story here. For people who have experienced physical, mental, and emotional trauma, creating art can be a way to express the...


Art for healing the military-civilian divide

This is the first of a two-part feature on art and veterans. Read second story here. The challenges facing military service members, veterans, and their families and caregivers today are “more than...


Artists launch from Work of Art classes to a collective

When the five artists of the Springstep Collective met in a workshop on business skills for artists in Minnetonka, Minnesota, they were looking for a push in the right direction. Each of them had...


Citizen artist: Eric Liu on artists’ role in civic life

Artists embody what it means to be a citizen, says Eric Liu. But the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University is quick to explain that “citizenship” doesn’t refer to a person’s documentation...


Roots of Rondo honors a neighborhood, looks to the future

America’s network of interstate highways is considered to be one of the most impressive infrastructure achievements of all time, a lasting symbol of the country’s postwar prosperity. But the...


Storefront art programs reflect cities’ changes & challenges

During the Great Recession, as the U.S. retail economy suffered the effects of the market collapse and rising unemployment, public officials and arts administrators in cities around the country...


Wanderway teaches how to use digital media creatively and ethically

Dance company Wonderbound filmed a behind-the-scenes video about how the sets were made for one of their shows. Theater community organization HowlRound created an online space for Latina/o theater...


New arts grantmaking ideas in action

Here’s the traditional path for artists to get funding: A public entity or private foundation puts out a grant application. Artists or arts organizations fill out the application with statements...


Microloans help artists build sustainable careers

Blayze Buseth was ready to launch his career as an artist. As a ceramicist, he had received several requests for commissions, particularly for his “Legacy Vessels,” or customized cremation urns....


Renewable energy art helps us design a better future

The planet is getting warmer. Sea levels are rising. Climate change is being felt in disasters and shifting ecosystems around the world, in a way that’s often disturbing to individuals wondering how...


Low-power FM radio shares community voices to a hyperlocal audience

Ohm Radio, Credit Adam Chandler Photography, courtesy of Vikki Matsis On July 7, 2016, radio host Philip Gracia began a live Internet broadcast of WFNU in St. Paul, Minnesota, by saying, “We’re...


Lessons from RARE: Engaging Artists in Real Estate Development

As real estate developers increasingly look for responsive models, many are seeing the value of incorporating art into buildings and spaces. In one current case study, the Richfield Artist Resident...


Ready Go's mobile art projects capture attention and engage the community

How likely are you to sit and have a conversation with a stranger in a park? What if you could do so while playing a board game at a table under brightly colored flags, all of which popped up in your...


DMC Youth

San Jose's MACLA engages a multicultural community

In early 2016, San Jose’s Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) opened the exhibition “Custom Lives: Rasquache Renaissance.” The show exhibited colorful, cartoon-like sculptures...


Unleashed! Artist Party, New Hazlett Theater

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council works through art to lead social change

At the Three Rivers Arts Festival in 2014, a volunteer choir took the stage with an original piece: “The Pittsburgh Complaint Song.” As the Complaints N’at Choir, they put the grievances of...


Macon Arts Alliance Gallery

The Macon Arts Alliance, Leading Through Transformation

This story is part of a series of features on the members of the Leading Organizations pilot program, featuring organizations across the country working with artists in new and innovative ways. Learn...


Metro Arts in Nashville - a leading organization and a learning organization

This story is part of a series of features on the members of the Leading Organizations pilot program, featuring organizations across the country working with artists in new and innovative ways. Learn...


Imagine Fergus Falls

Transforming the Kirkbride: Fergus Falls faces mental health issues & historic preservation with art

In Fergus Falls, Minnesota, one structure dominates the landscape more than any other. Spanning the length of eight football fields, the 700,000-square foot building with its red-tiled, turreted...


"Look, these people are making art here": How Community Supported Art thrives in Lincoln, Nebraska

This story is part of THE REPLICATORS, a series highlighting artists and organizations that have used toolkits and programs offered on Creative Exchange to create new programming in their community....


How artists helped keep 33 businesses in a Cleveland neighborhood open through construction chaos

This story is the first of THE REPLICATORS, a series highlighting artists and organizations that have used toolkits and programs offered on Creative Exchange to create new programming in their...


Little Free Library, Patricia Arroyo

Little Free Library has big ambitions for literacy & public art

If your neighborhood is home to a Little Free Library, you might be lulled into thinking that it’s been there forever — or for several decades, at least. The small sidewalk libraries’ “take a...