Jaime Carrejo’s sculpture installations force viewers to see “the border” differently

Jaime Carrejo has been making art since before he even knew what “art” was. He just knew he liked to make things, experiment with different materials and surfaces, maybe do some painting, maybe burn some things in the backyard (as curious kids do). As his art education progressed through high school, college, and graduate school, his creative motivation came from exploring the idea of...

Photographer Xavier Tavera documents the Latinx community from one border to the other

Xavier Tavera remembers picking up a camera when he was 11 or 12 years old and fell in love with photography immediately. To this day, he says, that “magical feeling” he gets from photography still hasn’t gone away. His family immigrated to Minneapolis from Mexico City in 1996, and after that his photography changed completely. “Just the sense of being here as a Latino and as a...

Collective Magpie explores the concepts of race and identity in cultural borderlands

“Collective Magpie = Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas + Participants” So says the equation at the top of the Collective Magpie website, and it is meant to underscore the fact that they function as a “collective” outside of just themselves as the leading artists. All of the work of this nomadic collective is in the public domain, created in collaboration with community participants. Hwang...

Photographer Tom Kiefer documents the things that are carried across the border

In Tim O'Brien's short story "The Things They Carried," the items each of the soldiers choose to carry with them through the grueling jungles of Vietnam become an allegory for the human cost of the war itself. Photographer Tom Kiefer's project El Sueño Americano ("The American Dream") similarly looks at the human cost of war through the items people choose to carry with them across impossible...

The Mexican Woman’s Post Apocalyptic Survival Guide in the Southwest and other stories of life on the border from M. Jenea Sánchez

Photographer M. Jenea Sánchez grew up in Douglas, Arizona, a city that shares a border with Mexico. She remembers crossing the border to and from Agua Prieta multiple times every day as a child – to go to school, to visit her cousins. The border itself was less a barrier and more a region of its own: a person is not "from" one side of the border or the other, but from the border itself. M....

Maamoul Press prints comics by Middle Eastern women, for Middle Eastern women (and everyone else, too)

Leila Abdelrazaq is a Palestinian author and illustrator living in Detroit. As an author and artist, she has tabled at zine and comics shows, but felt that there was room at her table—both literally and figuratively, as it were—for more than just her own work. She launched Bigmouth Press & Comix in 2016 with that in mind: first starting as a blog profiling different Middle Eastern women...

Five Years of Creative Exchange!

February 20, 2014 was the day that we launched Creative Exchange. I had just become a father, and here was another baby about to go out into the world. We launched the site with a handful of artist profiles, six toolkits to download, and some big hopes for the platform. Would people be interested in stories about artists and their work in community? Would the toolkits be useful to creative...

Dana Sikkila takes Project Bike all over the state of Minnesota

Visual artist Dana Sikkila grew up in Litchfield, a farm town in West Central Minnesota with a population of a little over 6,000 people. She describes her family and the area she grew up as being "very blue collar;" an area without much in the way of cultural or artistic outlets or diversity. "People always ask me, 'Did you grow up in a really creative household or community?' There's this...

Leila Awadallah dances stories of Palestine

Leila Awadallah, a 2018-2019 Springboard for the Arts 20/20 Artist Fellow, moved to Minneapolis from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to study dance before she had a sense of the kind of artist she is. “I just knew I loved to move and express myself through movement and dance,” she laughs. Her practice involves dance, movement, and choreography, specifically in the realm of storytelling, and...

Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists

Developed by Springboard for the Arts, Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists is based on a series of professional development and entrepreneurship workshops that have been taught to more than 5,000 artists at arts organizations, colleges, and libraries in over 80 communities in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa since 2010. Work of Art is a 12-part workbook and video...

Ujima Theatre Company uses theatre to foster self-determined communities

The work of Springboard for the Arts is rooted in arts-based economic and community development. We believe artists are critical assets in that work, and support them by offering a variety of resources that enable them to make both a living and a life. This is why Springboard is a member of the New Economy Coalition (NEC): because we believe in the vision of a new economy, one that is just,...

Wesley Fawcett Creigh asks people what makes them feel like they belong

Wesley Fawcett Creigh grew up in rural Vermont in what she describes as a "very homogenous zone." In high school she got excited about the arts, but she couldn't figure out how to apply that to "real life." So right after graduating she moved to Mexico to take part in a coral reef conservation program because she thought she wanted to be a biologist. "I was this total country bumpkin dropped...

Meet Loriann Hernandez, Riverside’s “Art Hustling Roller Skating Ninja”

Loriann Hernandez – also known as "Elle Seven" – describes herself as an "Art Hustling Roller Skating Ninja." While the overlap between street art and skating culture is nothing new, the way Hernandez's skating converged with her art is a bit of a different "spin" on a familiar narrative. Hernandez is based in Riverside, California, where her family has roots that stretch back over 100...

Graffiti Camp for Girls is breaking up the boys’ club of street art

"I was a disgruntled teenager. My mom moved us out to the country while I was still in high school and there was nothing to do. I basically just wanted to get into trouble," says Nina Wright, aka Girl Mobb, on how she first got into graffiti painting on barns in rural Ohio. Though her initial interest in street art was because it offered her a way to "get into trouble," she found she was...

It’s not enough to just Get Artists Paid; it’s time to stage an Art.Exit

The work of Springboard for the Arts is rooted in arts-based economic and community development. We believe artists are critical assets in that work, and support them by offering a variety of resources that enable them to make both a living and a life. This is why Springboard is a member of the New Economy Coalition (NEC): because we believe in the vision of a new economy, one that is just,...

5 Questions with Creative Exchange: What we have learned from our artists

Since August 2016, Creative Exchange has been asking each of our Artists With Impact a series of five questions, which appear at the end of every profile. We did this to create a thread of continuity from one profile to the next: whether we're interviewing the head of a multi-million-dollar arts organization in a major city or a solo artist from the Alaskan Bush, we want our readers – which...

Connecting Americans to Healthcare

I’ve said it on this platform before, but artists need access to healthcare. In fact, everyone needs access to healthcare, but artists, who often work non-traditional jobs and have sporadic income, especially need the protections of the Affordable Care Act. I know that the ACA is not perfect, and we need to take steps to fix its flaws, but this is important for our creative communities. Just...

Honoring Inuit culture through traditional tattoos

Holly Mititquq Nordlum is an Inupiaq artist born in Kotzebue, an Inuit village in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. As an artist, she has followed a lifelong call that has led her to painting, sculpture, graphic design, photography, printmaking, jewelry making, and now filmmaking. "I blame my mom," she laughs. "She was an artist herself. I blame her for giving me permission to follow this...

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 the traditional medical model can solve.” That’s a quote from a 2016 briefing published by the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, and it sums up a complex confluence...

A small area plan with big ambitions: Frogtown’s illustrated SMAPL is a document of tactical urbanism

A "small area plan" is a very common development document for individual districts within a city. Typically the stuff of purely esoteric urban planner interest, these are documents containing focused plans that address issues in specific areas of the city. While every city has several sitting on their shelves, they aren't exactly known for being engaging reading material, nor do they see many...

Train-the-Trainer Intensive recap

In July, Springboard for the Arts held the first Train-the-Trainer Intensive, a “summer camp for artist organizers, creative community development folks and creative economy nerds,” according to the National Endowment for the Arts. 28 attendees from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Arizona came to Saint...

What would happen if the NEA were defunded, and why should we care?

It has been a little over six months since Donald Trump took office, and a lot has happened during that time. Although the budgeting process for the federal government is a long and arduous process which has only just begun, the Trump administration's initial budget proposal raises important questions that are relevant to address. In particular for organizations and individuals working in the...

New Haven’s Elm City Mosaic

This story is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Knowledge Building grant supporting a partnership between Springboard for the Arts and the International Downtown Association. See more stories from the partnership here. When the city of New Haven, CT, began construction on Route 34 in the 1960s, the idea was that it would connect the city to its suburbs in the Lower...

Rural Arts & Culture Summit Videos

The Rural Arts & Culture Summit was held from June 6-8 in Morris, MN, and it was magical. 400 artists, community development professionals, leaders, and advocates from 22 states came to the town of 5,000 people in the rolling Minnesota farmland to share ideas, practical steps, and paths forward together. Look for more writing, photos and coverage of the Summit to come, and check out the #racsummit...

Soundset & Possibility

“This is possible,” Black Liquid, the Richmond, Virginia-based emcee, writer, instructor, and radio personality, told me at this year's Soundset festival. “Not only getting on the stage, but building the stage as well.” Possibility and building community is at the heart of Soundset, and Rhymesayers Entertainment did it once again for their tenth year anniversary of their hip-hop...

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 status under immigration law. It’s about membership in a community, about contribution to the whole. It’s about participating in civic life and in public spaces and institutions. Civic...

Make it Rain Poems

This story is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Knowledge Building grant supporting a partnership between Springboard for the Arts and the International Downtown Association. See more stories from the partnership here. "The Biggest Small Town" O, almost-city I love you around me & you love me around. I want to kiss you every day like the shortest skyscraper ...

Prairie Dreamers: Reflecting on Springboard’s 5 years in Fergus Falls

As a child growing up in Dundas, Minnesota, I learned more in school about the rainforest or the oceans than I did about the prairie and lakes that were in my backyard. I had t-shirts pleading to save the whales, and begged my mom to buy chocolate whose proceeds would go to the tropical places I had never seen. I really never questioned this, to be honest. I just thought these more colorful, more...

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 interstate system carries a dark legacy — one still felt in the Black communities of major cities — of the neighborhoods destroyed to make way for the highway. Sugar Hill in Los Angeles became home...

Join us in Denver for IdeaLab 2017!

Are you an artist, social entrepreneur or organizer? Do you want to connect to others to organize around racial equity and social justice? Do you believe in the power of creative storytelling? Join us for IdeaLab 2017 on April 14 in Denver to hear from exciting local and national organizers and artists, connect to like-minded creatives, and develop new relationships to move your projects forward. ...