Monday, January 31, 2011
It takes a village to make it to 20 years.
2011 is Springboard for the Arts’ 20th year.
I have mixed feelings about celebrating anniversaries for organizations. On the one hand, merely surviving doesn’t seem to really be cause for celebration – 20 years is only meaningful if you actually did something with all the time, resources and people that have to exist for an organization to hit such a milestone. On the other hand, we really like celebrating. And on the third hand, there are some amazing people and resources that have contributed to those 20 years and all of the things we’ve been able to accomplish during them. So this anniversary seems like a good opportunity to reflect a bit on all that Springboard has accomplished over the last two decades and all of the important conditions and people who have made that possible.
Springboard is one of the oldest professional development organizations for artists in the country and is considered a national leader in the field of artist economic development. And I think that’s because this community has such a long history of valuing and supporting its artists. A non-Minnesotan said to me once that people in their community don’t understand that “art comes from artists.” It made me realize that, for the most part, we do understand that in Minnesota and in the Upper Midwest. We understand that you need healthy vibrant artists to have a culture of creativity and a quality of life that make people want to live in a place where it’s possible to get two feet of snow in 12 hours.
In addition to the general community and the way we value art, there are some specific individuals and organizations that can take a lot of credit for our last 20 years. There have been over 100 volunteers who have served Springboard as board members since 1991, contributing thousands of hours of time and other resources to make sure that this organization was serving artists and the community in the best way possible. There have been amazing individual and institutional supporters, especially the Jerome Foundation and the McKnight Foundation who have been with Springboard almost from the beginning and have contributed much more than financial support to our success. There have been hundreds of important partners who have helped us create and find the resources that artists need. There is ArtSpace who has provided a sustainable, affordable home for us in a neighborhood that feeds our mission every day. There have been incredible staff members, including Barbara Davis, Joan Wells, and our beloved Chris Osgood, whose leadership and commitment to artists helped develop the unique way that we serve our community. And there have been nearly 100,000 artists who have used our services, trusted us with their healthcare, legal and other challenges, contributed their ideas and experiences to our teaching and served as a constant reminder of the reason we do this work. Thank you.
I’m thrilled and daunted (in the best possible way) to look ahead to the next 20 years and eager for each of you to be a part of that journey.