"Celebrating artists as essential for vibrant and just local economies"
Founded in 1991, Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization that centers artists as essential in community, supports vibrant and just local economies, and invests in human-centered systems. Springboard provides programs that help artists thrive, and programs that help communities connect to the creative power of artists. Springboard’s mission is to support artists with the tools to make a living and a life, and to build just and equitable communities full of meaning, joy and connection.
Springboard has long operated a Personal Emergency Relief Fund for Minnesota artists, providing $500 in relief for career-disrupting emergencies. In the face of COVID-19, Springboard expanded the fund for artists, creative workers, and culture bearers who lost income due to the pandemic. From March 2020 through January 2021, they raised and distributed over $1.25M to almost 2,600 Minnesotans as the pandemic disrupted the creative sector. Through the creation of a toolkit and organizing national convenings, Springboard helped over 80 other communities get their emergency relief funds up and running.
Springboard provides infrastructure, ecosystem and support to artists and communities, with the intention to increase accessibility to creative tools and to prioritize communities that are under-resourced. For Springboard, this means building programs that are widely accessible, and prioritize people who are BIPOC and Native, people who are LGBTQIA+, people in rural places, and people with disabilities.
From their office in Fergus Falls, Springboard recently launched the Rural Regenerator Fellowship, supporting a cohort of 11 rural leaders from across the Upper Midwest. Springboard’s Creative Economy Fellowship builds on a 3 year pilot of supporting BIPOC and Native artists who are providing platforms and supporting artists in their communities.
Programs like Incubator fiscal sponsorship, Artist Career Consultants, and the Guaranteed Income for Artists pilot in Saint Paul build agency and power by opening up new opportunities for artists to access capital, shift systems, and to do their work in community. In everything Springboard does, they strive to model a more holistic and more equitable ecosystem in order to make a greater difference.
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