When you ask Mayors or community organizers what their biggest challenge is, often they say “helping people believe that change is possible.” This session will use the Irrigate project in St.Paul, Minnesota as a case study to share how many small, locally-grown, creative placemaking projects can contribute to a change in neighborhood narrative and lead to greater agency and equity in the community.
Laura Zabel is executive director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development agency based in Minnesota. Springboard provides programs that help artists make a living and a life; and programs that help communities tap into the resource that artists provide. Some of Springboard’s projects include: Community Supported Art (CSA), which is based on the Community Supported Agriculture model and connects artists directly with patrons; the Artists Access to Healthcare program, which was awarded the 2010 Social Entrepreneur’s Cup; and the Irrigate project, a national model for how cities can engage artists to help reframe and address big community challenges. Springboard’s programs have been replicated in over 40 communities across the country. Laura was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in the nonprofit arts and received the 2012 Visionary Leader award from the MN Council of Nonprofits. She has been one of Minneapolis Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty and Minnesota Monthly’s 12 Minnesotans Who Can See the Future. Laura serves on advisory boards for the Knight Foundation, Twin Cities LISC and the University of Kansas.