May 6, 2023
The Frogtown-area St. Paul building as it appeared on University Avenue in June 2018. The building was purchased by Springboard for the Arts.

St. Paul, Minn. (June 2018) — Springboard for the Arts is delighted to announce that it has purchased the building and lot at 262 University Avenue West in Saint Paul.

The space will be used for community events, expanded programming, and new market opportunities during the planning and pre-development phases, before permanent renovations and improvements are made. An Open House event for community members to see the space and connect to opportunities for programming will be held from 10 a..m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23. All are welcome.
“For over 27 years, Springboard for the Arts has supported our vibrant community, while shaping a national conversation about cultural policy,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “I am excited about the creative development of this new space, which will allow them to further provide dynamic community engagement and innovative arts programming.”
Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts, said the move presents an opportunity to increase access to the organization’s growing resources. She said the move also offers more space for neighborhood activity and community development and the opportunity to find new ways to support artists making a living and a life.
“This opportunity is only possible because of the vital creative work and partnership of artists, neighbors and community organizations in Little Mekong, Frogtown, and Rondo and many others across the city and region,” Zabel said.
In partnership with the Asian Economic Development Association, Springboard for the Arts new site will be a host for the popular Little Mekong Night Market on Aug. 4-5Sept. 1-2, and Oct. 6-7, 2018. Learn more about Little Mekong:
Lowertown-based architecture firm 4RM+ULA has been selected as the architect for the project. As part of plans to activate the space during pre-development, a Call for Artists to produce art for the windows during the early phases is currently open and available here:
“Springboard has had its offices in the Northern Warehouse Building in Lowertown for almost 27 years, and we have grown and evolved immensely in that time,” Zabel said, “We are grateful to our Lowertown friends and neighbors, and as we plan our future move we will always have a commitment to the neighborhood.”
Springboard for the Arts project rendering from 4RM+ULA.

Minnesota-based Springboard for the Arts has built national models for professional development and resources for artists, as well as artist-led community development and participation models. One such project, the “Irrigate” initiative which ran from 2011-2014 along the Green Line construction zone, was a partnership with the City of Saint Paul, Twin Cities Local Initiative Support Corporation and six St. Paul district councils, with major support from ArtPlace America. The effort trained more than 650 local artists in creative placemaking and partnership-building skills, funded over 250 creative projects along the corridor, and resulted in 51 million positive media impressions of the neighborhoods along the corridor. The Irrigate “Art Happens Here” neighborhood celebration in 2012 was held on the site of 262 University Avenue West, bringing this work full circle for Springboard for the Arts.

The purchase and pre-development of 262 University Avenue West are the first steps in a larger community design process and funding campaign to support renovations, funding of programming and sustainability, and development of new markets and entrepreneurial opportunities for local artists and makers. The Saint Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, and Mardag Foundation have made founding commitments to this effort with grants totaling $500,000.
“The Saint Paul Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation recognize the enormous value Springboard for the Arts adds to our community through diverse and profound opportunities to engage with art and individual artists,” said Sharon DeMark, program officer with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations. “Springboard’s commitment to community and economic vitality in Saint Paul and neighborhoods like those along University Avenue aligns with that of the Foundations. We are pleased to provide early support for a project that will not only enhance Springboard’s ability to serve the community, but also create space for organizations led by people of color and artists of color.”

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