Art Force Academy

Creative Economic Development Study

Creative Economic Development Study Initiatives

Art Force’s President and CEO Bill Kieger and Art Director Leslie Palmer-Ross participated in the City of Minneapolis 10 Year Creative Roadmap, which will be published later this month. If you haven’t read about it yet, be sure to check it out! In conjunction with this major initiative, Art Force also sponsored the Creative Economic Development Study (CED) to help clarify the views of strategic business leaders in relation to the creative economy.

This CED Study helped clarify many key initiatives for Art Force and better defined our relationship with the greater community and our clients. Today we feature the results, and how they helped formulate some of our key initiatives since 2015 including:

Art Force Initiatives:

Doing our part to promote art culture means more than doing what we’ve already done. We’ve analyzed the CED Study findings to conclude that it’s now time to create new services and offerings that not only benefit our clients individually, but facilitate art growth as a whole.

As always, we hope our community at Art Force Academy will help us refine and improve these resources even more. At the end of the day, we take this research based approach to help bring better products and opportunities to the metro art scene.

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The CED Study helped us realize there was a real need for learning, collaborating and sharing information in the art world beyond the classroom. In just four months, we’ve already reached 4,000 members at AFA, telling us we are addressing a real need for the community. These members span all three of our respective tracks: Art Enthusiasts, Artist Entrepreneurs, and Art Consultants.

Each of these programs offer modules and resources ranging from a Resource Library, White papers, Resource Guides, podcasts, a partner program for business professionals, exclusive access to the SmartArt Resource library, and creative content like our Minneapolis Mural Map project.

So far, the most enjoyable part about AFA has been the connections we’ve made throughout the community. The community itself is helping shape the future of AFA and your feedback has been critical.



The CED Study illustrated that although there is intent to locally source art to be curated and hung within business offices here in the Twin Cities, there is need for online resources. The SmartArt program was created to source thousands of pieces of artwork into one location, allowing the decision maker to select from a vast database of artwork and create a collection all their own.

We’ve also recently launched a blog series where we walk through a sampling of the showcase by subject matter to help inspire new ideas. So far, we’ve covered birch art, river art and bridge art. Future topics will include mountains, lakes, nautical themes, abstract art, and onward. With so much art to choose from, we are hoping this website will serve as an ideation tool, inspiration engine, and collaborative environment for art consultants and clients to work together.


Another result of the CED Study, the Wings Suite empowers health challenged artists from all walks of life. The program not only helps fund artists facing health challenges, but it provides great inspiration for the artists and healthcare facilities featuring their work.

still life artistsStill Life Artists from the Wings Suite

Here is a brief sampling of the artwork from Wings and Still Life. Both programs are available in our SmartArt Program showcase (set “Description” to the keyword “Wings” or “Still Life”). We are also piloting a third program, Local Voice, which gives healthcare facilities with existing artwork programs a way to print, frame and distribute artwork created in their creative arts programs.

Still Life Wings Collage

As you can see, we seek to connect art with a health-positive message. Every healing experience benefits from the power of positive distraction, inspirational imagery and shared experience.

SmartArt CAM

Comprehensive Art Management (CAM) program

After reading more into the CED Study’s results, we asked a simple question. Why does no one offer a robust art asset management system?

Our CAM program team developed competencies in data management, RFID tracking, auctioneering, reselling, brand alignment and new art asset integration.

smart art CAM

The results have been especially fruitful in the Fortune 500 sector, where businesses with large art collections can leave the heavy lifting to us and focus on their core business with the assurance their art assets are being carefully tracked and managed. The CED Study helped us identify the need and we are quickly learning the true value of this market.

Venture Lab

Art force has developed a collaborative space that functions as a community “art tank”. Meetings take place here almost daily which allow staff and partners to learn from one another through art news, technique overviews, training sessions, web seminars, lunch-and-learns, and much more all in a collaborative environment.

Venture Lab CED

Staff themselves often lead discussions ranging from art trends to best business practices allowing for our respective competencies to complement one another.

Knowledge is Power

Art Force hopes to do our part in seeing growth fulfillment for the arts scene in Minneapolis and beyond. As STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) becomes STEAM (plus Art), we are grateful as an art business for this paradigm shift. Valuing the arts begins with understanding their greater place in society, and we were happy to share the results from our CED Study with you to that end.





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