I spent the weekend in St. Paul, MN, at the offices of Springboard for the Arts with a whole group of talented artists (artists as in visual artists, writers, musicians, actors, & etc.). We were gathered together, Springboard staff and others, so that the Springboard staff could teach us others how to be Artist Career Counselors.
Springboard, which used to go by another name not so very many years ago but whose rebranding has been so successful that I can’t think of the other name, is a nonprofit organization whose “mission is to cultivate a vibrant arts community by connecting artists with the skills, contacts, information and services they need to make a living and a life.” (That’s from Springboard’s website, in case you were wondering.) The organization sees itself as having an economic development role, which is a brilliant position to take. Its staff and board work hard to offer programs and services to artists in order to make them viable contributors to the economies of their communities. The Business of Art workshop I took last year was offered by Springboard.
While Springboard has been particularly active in the Twin Cities metro area, the board and staff have been working to make it a regional (Minnesota and surrounding states) and even national organization. In order to offer more of the organization’s services to Greater Minnesota (areas outside the Twin Cities metro), they have put together a program wherein an Artist Career Counselor (ACC) will be available for consultations in most of the economic development regions of the state. I am the ACC for Region 5, which includes the counties of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena. Having Artist Career Counselors throughout the state will allow Springboard to serve more artists.
Artists of any discipline and at any point in their careers (from beginner to advanced) may request an hour long consultation with an ACC in order to get advice that will help them advance their careers. Consultations are $45 and artists can sign up for one via Springboard’s website on this page. (Yep, you have to sign up via the Springboard page; you can’t just phone me for a consultation. It’ll muck up the process. Actually, you could call me, but then I’d tell you to sign up via the Springboard web page, so you may as well save a step. There are Artist Career Counselors throughout the state, so you can request to meet with the one located closest to you. If you have really specific questions about a particular artistic discipline, Springboard staff may match you up with an ACC that can speak to that discipline.)
Along with making ourselves available for consultations, those of us who have signed on to be Artist Career Counselors throughout the state have been tasked with creating a list of resources for artists. Primarily we’re focusing upon our regions because it would become overwhelming if we tackled too wide a geographic area. We’re not only looking for resources that are directly related to artists (art supply stores, arts centers, music studios, writing groups, theaters, & etc.), we’re also looking for resources that will help artists deal with other issues, such as building a website, protecting their intellectual property, finding affordable housing and healthcare. If you know of any such resources in Region 5, please let me know in the comments or via email at woowooteacup (at) gmail (dot) com.