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 Paul, MN, to take part, learn, and share over the course of the week-long event. With 3 days focused on learning to lead the Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists curriculum, and 2 days on artist-led community development, the days were rich with learning, inspiration, and network-building.

Nametags and totebags, ready to go.

Led by Springboard’s staff of artist-practitioners, the Intensive balanced learning materials with considerations for putting the work into practice. In theWork of Art section, participants worked through the materials in the business skills toolkit, dove deeper into the content and common issues in small groups, and took time to work through the practice of teaching. As one participant put it in evaluation, “Everything I learned (and the awesome materials) definitely makes me more prepared for assisting our artists and my organization. These are key skills [our] artist community is starving for.”

Springboard for the Arts Work of Art instructor Anna Mecalfe makes a point.

In the community development section, participants worked on mapping community assets, organizing principles, and team-building strategies, with a focus on deepening community development programs to include artists, or creating new programs led by artists. “Great tools & information to share with other groups who we would like to see integrate artists into their process, organization, or offices,” noted one participant in the evaluations. “Can you come train them!?”

Support from the Bush Foundation and the Surdna Foundation made the Intensive possible, and to Nautilus Music-Theater for shared their beautiful space to host the training. Stay tuned for the next opportunity to attend a Train-the-Trainer Intensive, if you are interested in leading this work in your community, or if you want to bring Springboard’s training to you, be in touch at

Participant Kara Maloney from Lanesboro Arts shares about her team’s tower from the team-building exercise.

Springboard’s toolkits were the basis of the training and are all available to download via Creative Exchange:

Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists

Irrigate, Artist-led Community Development

Guide for Business Districts to Work with Local Artists

Find An Artist Toolkit