Library Update: IRRIGATE toolkit

January 22, 2016

By: ArtPlace America

This week the Irrigate Toolkit joins our library. 

Funded in part by ArtPlace and disseminated by HUD, the toolkit sprung from the 2011 artist-driven Irrigate project. This project was a collaboration among Springboard for the Arts, the City of Saint Paul and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in response to the disruptive construction of a new light rail transit line. 

Irrigate engaged the arts to offset the negative impacts of construction, which often hampers activity and local businesses, by activating artists as community leaders and developing partnerships between them and local business owners. Businesses that participated saw increased visibility and interest within the community during this time. Irrigate involved over 600 artists in over 180 collaborative projects and generated 50 million positive media impressions in lieu of what would have otherwise been a predominantly negative public narrative.

Disruption is ubiquitous in nearly every community (whether from construction, natural occurrences, or even special events) and thus the toolkit has broad applicability.  It lays out the process behind Irrigate in great detail so that others interested in tackling similar work can incorporate the lessons learned into their community undertakings.  Our hope in sharing this toolkit is not that every community attempt to replicate Irrigate, but instead that it serve as an inspiration - a springboard if you will - for those seeking to create their own innovative solutions to community challenges.

You can view the full toolkit here.  If you download the Irrigate toolkit, please email Carl Swanson at carl [at] to let him know. Springboard tracks who has the toolkit, and also coordinates virtual discussions with potential users. If you have any specific questions about the toolkit or other community development programs at Springboard, contact Jun-Li at jun-li [at]