Artist rendering of Springboard in St. Paul.

Artist rendering of Springboard in St. Paul.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a $1 million investment in Springboard for the Arts, moving the organization closer to establishing a new St. Paul location on the Green Line.

Knight Foundation’s investment in the redevelopment of a new site for Springboard at 262 University Ave. W. in St. Paul represents an anchor investment in its $5.85 million capital fundraising campaign. Through the campaign, Springboard aims to transform a long-empty former car dealership into a visible home for art and community along St. Paul’s Green Line, a central corridor of the city. The new location will create a permanent home for the organization, which has rented space in St. Paul’s Northern Warehouse Building in Lowertown for more than two decades. 

Nicknamed SpringBOX, the site will allow Springboard to expand its offerings and better serve its growing community. The site will host Springboard offices, multi-purpose community spaces, and a public lawn and green space, as well as an artist resource lab with publicly accessible services including career consultations, legal assistance and health care resources. Knight Foundation funding will further sponsor the creation of a large event and public space in the former garage that will host markets, performances, artist-led projects and community celebrations. 

“Springboard for the Arts has been a part of the fabric of St. Paul for 28 years, but its influence has been far reaching, extending across Minnesota and other cities within the United States,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation vice president for the arts. “The arts are an essential part of community building and proving this critical connection through an innovative model has been at Springboard’s core. This new home will allow it to provide more local and national artists access to its unique tools and trainings, while creating a lasting, vibrant neighborhood meeting place where people can better connect with arts and artists.” 

“SpringBOX will create a physical, visible, and accessible home for creative people power in the neighborhood and across the city. We are excited to work together with our communities to create a space for neighborhood activity, art, economic opportunity and community health,” said Springboard for the Arts executive director, Laura Zabel. 

Since acquiring the site a year ago, SpringBOX engaged in a planning and pre-development phase, hosting more than 150 events and inviting 4,500 artists, community members, organizers and partners to use the space. The permanent renovation is anticipated to take place in fall 2019, with the full site opening in 2020. 

Support to Springboard forms part of Knight Foundation’s strategy to foster artistic excellence and audience engagement in the arts. Since 2005, Knight has invested more than $39 million in St. Paul, including more than $12 million in arts and culture.

Springboard is a national institution providing public access to local arts, resources for regional artists, and national training opportunities for artists and organizations. It works to foster economic opportunity for the 25,000 local artists it serves each year. 

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