Springboard for the Arts, the City of Saint Paul and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) developed Irrigate as an artist-led creative placemaking initiative. This unique cross-sector partnership came from the City’s desire to better leverage the creative skills of their residents and to work on disruption mitigation during major infrastructure development (the building of a Light Rail Transit line) in a new way. We knew that the traditional ways of addressing this kind of community challenge (community meetings, town halls, marketing consultants) have not been very successful. How could we think differently about this challenge, and what assets already existed in the community? Our goal in developing Irrigate was to use the period of disruption to build a parallel infrastructure of relationships and social capital that would outlast the construction chaos. The project was developed using Springboard’s history and expertise in artist training and community problem solving, LISC’s expertise in bricks and mortar community development, and the City of Saint Paul’s expertise in policy and planning. 

Irrigate is both an invitation and a charge to the creative community to engage with their neighborhoods and provides a common cause that has proved incredibly motivating to artists. We conducted Irrigate over a 3-year period, engaging over 600 artists in the training and supporting over 180 collaborative placemaking projects between artists and neighborhood organizations and businesses. These projects generated over 50 million positive media impressions of an area that otherwise would have had a predominantly negative public narrative. Businesses and other groups that participated say they saw increased visibility, interest and energy because of the projects and 90% say they are “more likely” to work with an artist again. The Irrigate model has already been piloted and adapted at different funding levels to support artists to address historic preservation, new development and revitalization in both urben and rural communities.

A free toolkit for Irrigate is available at http://www.springboardexchange.org/toolkits/default.aspx

A documentary about Irrigate is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQmUlCGjKrk

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See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project

press
May 20, 2016
CSAs are now a hugely popular way for city dwellers to eat fresh produce and support local farmers. A few years ago, a nonprofit in... Read More
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Update It’s been a busy summer for Blue Ox Mini Golf. Founders, Christi, Chris, and Jennifer traveled to different places to see and experience mini... Read More
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By Jennifer Pennington Updates In mid-April, the McKnight Foundation hosted Minnesota ArtPlace America grantees to reflect on the recent conference and make stronger local connections... Read More
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Proposed site that Blue Ox will transform into artist-designed mini golf and multipurpose art space Updates Blue Ox Mini Golf has submitted an offer on... Read More
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Updates Blue Ox Mini Golf is currently putting together a proposal to the owners of the site, and we plan to submit this by month’s... Read More
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Updates As we work toward securing a place for our venture, it's been heart warming to be contacted by many artists wondering when the call... Read More
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Updates The new space we are considering includes two other ventures in addition to our own: a museum honoring the Schmidt Brewery's rich history and... Read More
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Schmidt Artist Lofts Updates Passion is an important part of starting a new organization. When the going gets tough, it's great to have passion to... Read More
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Update Blue Ox Mini Golf has come to an agreement with Fort Road Federation regarding the footprint of the land. We are now in negotiations... Read More
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Update The Blue Ox team met with the Fort Road Federation Board of Directors to discuss the footprint of the land and our latest site... Read More
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Update We had a fantastic meeting with the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). Because our location has historic designation, we will be working with HPC to... Read More
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In the past month, Blue Ox Mini Golf has had a blast meeting with different local groups in the West 7th neighborhood of St. Paul... Read More
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Irrigate is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (CCLRT) line in Saint Paul, Minnesota during... Read More
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Irrigate is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (CCLRT) line in Saint Paul, Minnesota during... Read More
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Irrigate is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail line in St Paul during the years of... Read More
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Irrigate is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail line in St Paul during the years of... Read More
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It has been three months since we officially kicked off Irrigate, and we realized it was time for a bit of an update! You can... Read More
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As part of our Irrigate creative placemaking workshops we are doing something called Observation Piece , inspired by happenings and other relational, participatory art projects... Read More
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On September 15 th Irrigate was officially launched with an event that included bubble tea, flags, participatory lawn signs, Carol Coletta speaking in St Paul... Read More
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Cooking up place with artists As we launch Irrigate , Springboard would like to offer a recipe based on this past summer’s work with 10... Read More
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Springboard for the Arts brings artists and citizens together to overcome the short-term disruption of light rail construction and produce permanent art legacy. Springboard for... Read More