New toolkits from the 2018 Toolkit Cohort

Creative Exchange is based on the idea that artists are everywhere, that artists are shaping their communities in all sorts of ways, and by sharing stories and tools from those artists, we can build more creative, connected, resilient communities. To further that, in April we launched a new Toolkit Toolkit to help people share resources, and announced our 2018 Toolkit Cohort, working with artists across the country to create toolkits from their engaging, creative projects.

Today we are excited to share three toolkits from the cohort: a theater project from Minneapolis, MN, a literary engagement project from Denver, CO, and a youth arts program from Springfield, MO. These artist-led projects create new opportunities for artists and communities to engage, to open up new arts experiences, and have been successfully led by artists and arts organizations – meaning you can be inspired and do it too!


Word on the Street event at The Galleria in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Dave Townsend.

Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Write Denver program uses community activities and workshops to get people of all ages and backgrounds writing. “Write Denver ushered in a deeper level of community engagement for Lighthouse Writers Workshop. We wish the same for you! Whether you’re an individual or part of a larger organization, we hope the Write Denver Toolkit helps connect you to writers, creative writing teachers, and other literary, as well as monetary resources, so that you can more easily devote yourself to forming and celebrating your own literary community,” says Lighthouse Writers Workshop Community Programs Coordinator Dan Manzanares. Read more about about Write Denver in their special feature and get the toolkit here:


A seahorse made by an Arts in the Park student. Photo supplied by Springfield Regional Arts Council.

Growing up in the Arts Workshops bring a variety of artists together and provide the children who participate hands-on experience with multiple disciplines of fine arts. “We are excited about the potential to use the toolkit for preparing other communities to host their own “Growing Up in the Arts” activities. We have found a method that facilitates collaboration between artists, youth, and the community, and are happy that Creative Exchange can help spread that mission,” says Rachel Johnson, Director of Programs and Exhibitions as the Springfield Regional Arts Council. Read more about about Growing Up in the Arts in their special feature and get the toolkit here:


Lightning Rod 2018 performance. Credit: Ari Newman

Lightning Rod is a flexible framework for creating “flash theater,” an action of community involvement and political action, and an exercise in the most basic qualities of collaborative performance-making. “Honestly? I hope people will steal Lightning Rod, make it their own and takes lots of pictures and notes and then send them to us,” says Lightning Rod co-creator Kat Purcell. Read more about about Lightning Rod in their special feature and get the toolkit here:

These toolkits were created in 2018 as a partnership between artists, arts organizations, and Creative Exchange, the national program of Springboard for the Arts. Toolkit creation was supported by Colleen Powers, Nicole Rupersburg, and Nancy XiaoRong Valentine, with design support from Chad Nestor, and project management from Carl Atiya Swanson. Creative Exchange is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.