SPRINGBOARD020412

SpringBoard is a new program from ArtWorks of Cincinnati made possible in part by an ArtPlace grant of $150,000. The goal is to provide artisans and creative entrepreneurs with business development training and a collaborative work space in the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which will be home to a proposed streetcar line. Ultimately SpringBoard will enliven neighborhood business districts with these creative industries, retaining and attracting local talent.

Sarah Corlett, project director for Springboard, gave us an update on how the project is going:

ARTPLACE: How is the SpringBoard incubation facility coming along?

SARAH: Plans for the street frontage are progressing. The layout and scope of work have been determined, and BIDs have been solicited and are in the process of being negotiated. The space will truly be a representation of the artisans and creative entrepreneurs that have participated in SpringBoard. Designers John Dixon of Dixon Branded and Alex Aeschbury of Such & Such are creating and building custom furniture and cabinetry for this collaborative work space.

ARTPLACE: You mentioned that SpringBoard is “connecting the dots” within your community. What does you mean by that?

SARAH: SpringBoard is connecting the creative community in Cincinnati. For example, a high tech accelerator non-profit called The Brandery intentionally referred one of their start-up companies to a SpringBoard graphic designer. Two SpringBoard businesses, Visual Lingual and Such+Such, joined forces this fall after taking class together to create a new product that came online over the holidays. These sorts of connections highlight the talent in our region and begin to reaffirm that Cincinnati is a place for innovation. People working in similar worlds with a shared interest and passion for our city are finding one another. This business development program is a platform for connecting those dots.

ARTPLACE: Another dozen entrepreneurs started their business development journey in the middle of January. What sort of ideas are you seeing?

SARAH: This latest cohort has ideas ranging from a craft brewery to a cooperative print shop. Entrepreneurs that are not artists or artisans are flocking to SpringBoard because of the idea sharing and community that has become associated with the program. Like all of ArtWorks programs, SpringBoard creates an environment where artists interface with non-artists to support a collaborative environment.

Megan McAuley is one of the current crop of entrepreneurs, and she is sharing her experience over the next eight weeks on the popular Cincinnati Online Magazine, Soapbox. Megan is exploring the idea of opening up a rock climbing gym in Cincinnati, or creating an outdoor educational program for inner-city youth. We’re looking forward to watching her seed go from idea to reality!

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