2 Years of Creative Exchange!

It’s hard to believe, but Creative Exchange just turned 2! The platform was launched in 2014 in response to the question, “How do we support a movement around the power of local art and artists on a national scale?” We wanted to work at the intersection of inspiration, practical solutions, and community connections, and to have the concept of sharing freely and openly at the core of our work. Since the launch, we’ve published over 220 profiles of artists with impact and special features about the power of art from across the country, shared the 15 toolkits we host over 1,700 times, and seen replications of Community Supported Art, the Neighborhood Postcard Project, and Work of Art. We’re excited by the conversations we’re having, the projects we get to share, and the collaborations we’re seeing.

To celebrate, we’ve gathered 46 of the profiles and features we’ve published over the last 2 years into a collection, Field Notes from Creative Exchange. These stories touch on the themes that we’re seeing in artists’ work across the country – that creative thinking is shaping social change movements, reimagining what is possible in our economy, and creating new narratives of community power. We’re excited for the book, and not just because we love being able to hold books in our hands, but as a resource to share and use as a snapshot of where the movement of local arts in communities is now. You can buy a copy of Field Notes from Creative Exchange, or view it as a PDF.

We are also adding new resources to support connection and conversation. We’ve been really excited about the reception that the Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists toolkit has received since it launched in December. To better connect the artists and organizations that are requesting and using the toolkit, we are launching a new Work of Art Facebook group. This group can be used to share resources, and to connect with other artists, and organize learning groups based on geography or interest. Join the group here.

We couldn’t do any of this without a lot of help. Creative Exchange wouldn’t exist without the initial investment and ongoing championing of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through the Knight Arts Challenge, the Kresge Foundation as they support urban creative placemaking across the country, and the Surdna Foundation and their Thriving Communities portfolio. We’ve also had wonderful partnerships with the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation in Denver, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aspen Institute Arts Program, and all the publications throughout the Issue Media Group network.

And Creative Exchange wouldn’t exist without you – artist, organizer, maker, neighbor, innovator, creator. Don’t hesitate to be in touch (creativeexchange@springboardforthearts.org) with what you are working on, what you need, and what you want to see on the platform. In the coming year, we are going to be working on creating and sharing more toolkits, facilitating more in-person convenings, and continuing to advocate for the creative power of local art and artists. Read up, get inspired, be in touch, and join the movement!

Carl Atiya Swanson is Springboard for the Arts’ Director of Movement Building, working on Creative Exchange, a national hub of artful ideas for stronger communities. He is a theater-maker with Savage Umbrella, a company dedicated to creating new, relevant works of theater, and is on the board of Dissonance, an organization at the intersection of creativity and well being.