Your Guide To Great Community Project Guides


By: Joe Patti

If you have been inspired by all the great community projects you see different arts groups doing and dream of doing something similar, but don’t know where to start, Minnesota based Springboard for the Arts has you covered with their Creative Exchange site.

In particular, the Toolkit section of the site has guides written by the creators of various projects from across the country to help you do what they did.  All of the toolkits are free, though some have fees for additional materials and services like DVD videos and consultations.

The toolkits cover a whole range of projects and useful information for individuals and groups.

Henry O. Studley tool chest.

Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists has a 12 part workbook and accompanying set of videos to help artists develop their careers.

There is a guide for creating a Healthcare Voucher Program to help artists access healthcare.

How could you not love Block Party in A Box which bills itself as

“a resource kit is helping people to plan & execute block parties without breaking a sweat…resources that take care of the mundane and time-consuming work required to plan street parties, leaving citizens with more time to enjoy the company of their neighbors.”

There is a guide to creating pop-up museums from the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

I was happy to see the guide for 500 Plates project from Akron, OH, which almost simultaneously occurred with a similar project in Tallahassee, FL (where it was called the Longest Table). In both cases, the project organizers took over the middle of a street to start conversations between people from across the community over a meal.

One of the more impressive efforts at placemaking I have come across, Irrigate, is also included. In partnership with the City of St. Paul and the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Springboard for the Arts mobilized 600 local artists in 150 projects to mitigate the impact of a light rail construction project. If ever you have driven by an infrastructure construction site and felt pity for the people whose businesses and residences are suffering from the lack of convenient access, this toolkit will help you help them.

This is just a small sampling of the growing list of innovative ideas which include Dance Parties and CSA programs that provide boxes of locally produced art rather than locally produced produce.

Joe Patti
Joe Patti
In addition to writing for ArtHacker, I have been writing the blog, Butts in the Seats ( since 2004. I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. ( I am currently the Theater Manager for the Rialto Theater in Loveland, CO. Across my career I have worked as the Executive Director at The Grand Opera House in Macon, GA, at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.
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