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 to many…

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.…

Beyond Blucifer and the Blue Bear: Advancing Public Art in Denver

Denver's "One Percent for Art" law has helped foster a collection of public art that's the envy of other cities. Where has the policy exceeded expectations -- and where has it fallen short? Denver artist Patrick Marold's skill lies, in part, in his ability to capitalize on space, scale and natural elements to transform seemingly cold, industrial materials into a fresh sensory experience.…

Artist Hassan Nor draws old world vision of Somalia for new generation

In a high-rise tower located on Portland Avenue lives Hassan Nor, a Somali immigrant. Most of the residents in the building, like Nor, are seniors. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment by himself and the living room is set traditionally with beige- and maroon-colored Arabian sofas that are closer to the ground. This is where he sat when an interesting thought struck him about picking up an old…

Artists & Aging: Access, Storytelling & Change

The Artists & Aging pilot project was created by a partnership between the Citizens League and Springboard for the Arts in Minnesota, and supported by The Pluribus Project through their Narrative Collaboratory initiative, which supports citizen power by developing new narratives and tools for participating in policy change. Artist teams worked with aging communities on creative projects,…

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 practitioners. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts invites a variety of creators onto their blog and social media to include many voices and promote dialogue. These organizations are among…

Street Art Making Mark on New Denver

Denver's street art is attracting national recognition. How is the city's booming mural scene helping soften the impact of rapid development and gentrification? A carbon monoxide donut once hung low and dark around downtown Denver, fed by an uptick in drivers and intensified by the city's altitude and geography. But today, Denver is a place where a visible pollution problem seems to have…

Mural Arts’ Porch Light Toolkit

Mural Arts in Philadelphia believes that hands-on art-making provides a strong pathway for individual and community healing. Their Porch Light program, a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians by providing opportunities to contribute to…

Special Sauce & Agency: Evaluating Work of Art

"I feel like I just got a million dollars worth of guidance!" That's what one artist commented after downloading the Work of Art toolkit. Since the Work of Art toolkit launched as a free resource in December 2015, it has been downloaded from Creative Exchange almost 2,000 times. It has been used for workshops at art centers in Hawai'i, business consulting in Boston, to support a creative…

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. He also hoped to open a studio space and showroom in his hometown of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Blayze saw the potential to turn his art into a successful business, but he needed some money to take the next…

The Disconnect Between Healthcare and Health Insurance

After three years helping artists get health insurance through Springboard for the Arts’ Artists’ Access to Healthcare program, I should be overjoyed that our country’s uninsured rate is at an all-time low. But, I can’t bring myself to celebrate because I know that simply having health insurance isn’t enough. We all need better access to healthcare. If anyone should feel the full benefit of…

MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana Videos

When MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana was approached by Springboard for the Arts through the Creative Exchange Leading Organizations pilot to make the Spanish translation of the Work of Art toolkit, we were excited for the opportunity to share our vision of the arts as a vehicle for civic dialogue and social equity. The video topics come directly from our local artists and arts…

Fran Ilich believes another world is possible

Fran Ilich grew up in Tijuana next to the San Diego border. As a "border kid" in Mexico, Ilich has spent his life existing in a space somewhere in between – not quite Latin enough for Mexico, certainly not American enough for the United States. Just over the border were the promises of the American Dream; but his reality was that of Tijuana in the 1990s, a time of cultural evolution…and…

Friendly Streets: Bottom-up St. Paul project changes the way people look at their city

The following is excerpted from Jay Walljasper’s new book, “America’s Walking Renaissance,” which can be downloaded for free here. This excerpt was initially published by MinnPost. Laughter, lively music and lip-smacking appreciation of food from many cultures animates St. Anthony Avenue in St. Paul as a crowd whoops it up at the Better Bridges Bash. Even chilly spring temperatures and…

Trabajo de Arte: Aptitudes de Negocios para Artistas

Gracias por su interés en Trabajo de Arte: Aptitudes de Negocios para Artistas. Esto fue hecho por Springboard for the Arts con la ayuda del Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana y las herramientas salió de nuestros talleres de desarrollo profesional con artistas, y está diseñado para compartir esas lecciones y dar a los artistas recursos para aprender juntos. Puede ser utilizado como una…

HE-HO: A Toolkit for Health and Housing Resources

Everyone needs a place to live, including artists. Artists may also have additional space needs for their work, adding potential barriers to seeking out effective housing and space solutions. One of the best way to build awareness and relationships to break down those barriers is to find a way to bring people together in the same room. Enter HE-HO, a health and housing resources fair! This…

The business community comes together to support the arts in downtown Fresno

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. Public art and large-scale mural projects are often spearheaded by nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations, government organizations, or by…

Little Fyodor Leads Charge to Keep Denver Weird

For three decades running, weirdo DJ and musician Little Fyodor and his bandmate and partner-in-abnormality, Babushka, have fought to keep Denver strange. There are few who are keeping Denver weirder than Little Fyodor. In the various incarnations of his band, ranging from a solo act to a quartet, Little Fyodor has been part of the city's music scene since 1981, when downtown Denver was a…

Remembering Blake Brockington, Charlotte’s first openly trans homecoming king, through music

Blake Brockington was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the bandleader and a drum major, and known as a talented musician and writer as well as a caring mentor. He was also crowned homecoming king of East Mecklenburg High School in February 2014, the first openly transgender homecoming king in North Carolina's history, after raising $2,335.55 for Mothering Across Continents, an…

Carrie Morris Arts Production uses experimental puppetry to narrate people’s stories

Carrie Morris Arts Production uses performing objects and experimental theatre to tell stories. In other words, puppetry. But this isn’t the soft, plushy children's puppetry of Sesame Street – think less along the lines of Jim Henson's Muppets and more along the lines of Jim Henson's The Storyteller. In fact, if you ask Morris, most puppetry is unfairly dismissed as being solely "for kids,"…

Department of Play uses temporary play zones to connect people through imagined urban planning

The Boston-based arts collective Department of Play first started as an inkling of an idea when co-founder Kate Balug was studying interrogative design with artist Krzysztof Wodiczko at the MIT art department while earning her Masters of Urban Planning at Harvard. Having attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for her undergraduate degree in studio arts, she found Boston to…

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 more about all the organizations here. Nashville, Tennessee is inseparable from its identity as a music mecca. The center of country and gospel music, it’s a town full of live music venues, record…

FEAST Miami brings together the community to support new and emerging creative projects

Nothing brings a group of people together quite like the dinner table. Sharing a meal gets to the core of what a "community" is, a great social equalizer in ways few other everyday experiences can be. Susan Caraballo is the artistic director of the ArtCenter/South Florida and has worked in the Miami arts community for over 15 years. Loren Pulitzer is a chef who specializes in vegan cooking and…

Healthy Artists Make More Art – Get Covered!

We're past November 1st, which means it's time to get health insurance coverage for 2016. Enrollment is open for insurance coverage across the country, whether you are searching on the Healthcare.gov site, or your state has an individual marketplace set up. And artists need health coverage - whether you are a visual artist in a studio or a performing artist on a stage or a…

Artists can be the “connective tissue” of a neighborhood — but first they need a place to live

On any given day, Quest Skinner may be transforming her latest conversation with a neighbor into a vibrant painting. “My art is an expression of the people I meet,” explains Skinner, a long-time resident at Brookland Artspace Lofts in Washington, D.C., an affordable artist live/work project created by Artspace, which is based in Minneapolis. “I paint so much, my neighbors and neighborhood are…

Get Inspired and Connected at the Denver IdeaLab

On November 6, plug in to the IdeaLab! Join creative leaders from Denver and nationally for a full day event featuring panel discussions and workshops on getting inspired, building partnerships and putting creative ideas into action. Timed to coincide with Denver Arts Week, this unique event is designed to foster rich connections with Denver’s creative community, showcase Denver’s art and…

Making Home Where the Community Is

In 2013, Springboard for the Arts launched the Artist Organizers (AOs) pilot program as part of Irrigate’s artist-led community development. Supported by the Surdna Foundation, the pilot planted artists in community-invested organizations to contribute their creative skills to make change and strengthen vibrant places. This is a series of case studies of those AO partnerships. Get the Irrigate…

Mad King Thomas are the most earnest postmodern dance group probably ever

There is a pretty hard line between the high brow and lowbrow in art and culture. Postmodernists like to toy with that line. Mad King Thomas likes to play jump rope with it.   Discussions of challenging hegemony and writing while drunk don’t often happen in the same conversation, but a conversation with Mad King Thomas reels from drinking and disrupting hegemony to Swarovski-covered pasties…

“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. Read the first, about Irrigate in Cleveland. Click here to see all of the Creative Exchange toolkit offerings.   Since the 1980s, Community Supported Agriculture programs have allowed participants…