Art Force Academy

A Decade to Grow: The Minneapolis Creative City Roadmap

A 10-Year Strategic Plan for Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy

Big news for the Minneapolis Creative Arts Community!

The Minneapolis Creative City Roadmap overheard testimony and gained approval on August 19th at a Minneapolis City Council “Committee of the Whole” meeting. What will this mean for Minneapolis’ creative economy? Many great things.

The Roadmap not only outlines a plan, but provides opportunities for organizations like ours to help deliver on our collective goals. Details on the Roadmap and Art Force’s role are provided below.

What is the Creative City Roadmap?

From the published report:

“The Creative City Roadmap is a vision for how art and creativity can strengthen Minneapolis’ economic and social development. It also articulates how the power of art and cultural activities can be used to connect people across racial, income, cultural and age divides to foster deeper and more lasting relationships.”

The Roadmap reaches into the community to align arts audiences, artists, creative practitioners, nonprofits, for-profits, the public sector and philanthropy organizations to achieve its goals. With so many forces rallying behind a single cause, we have a major opportunity to uplift our creative economy.

In summary, the stated goals of the Roadmap are:

  • To “amplify the local” through the development and promotion of diverse creative assets
  • To connect people across “differences” by actively using art to build and “foster access and connections”
  • To provide resources and opportunities for local artists and creative practitioners
  • To strengthen economic and social development through arts and culture

While Art Force works with all of the community sectors mentioned above in some capacity, our main contribution reaches from the “for-profit” sector of the local art community. As the report detailed, for-profits have the unique ability to “add value to functional products or services through their creativity.”

Art Force’s Part

Since 2012, Art Force President and CEO, Bill Kieger, and Director of Art Services, Leslie Palmer-Ross, contributed to the Creative Vitality Index and served on the Work Group Teams for the Creative City Road Map.

Our work on this project helped us formulate and drive many of our key initiatives including the Creative Economic Development Study (CED Study), which we shared last week. As we mentioned, we created Art Force Academy, the SmartArt Program, our Venture Lab, the Wings Suite and our Comprehensive Art Management program with the CED Study and the Roadmap in mind. For more details on each, please reference last week’s post or visit their respective pages.

Art Force Academy & The Roadmap

For our creative economy to truly flourish, the free exchange of information and collaboration will be critical. So too will career opportunities for creatives in the area.

Art Force Academy has the potential to play its part in creating the connections cited in the Roadmap’s goals, as well as provide resources and opportunities for local artists and creative practitioners. As Art Force Academy membership recently crossed the milestone of 4,000+ members, we are feeling that our community is moving in the direction of providing tangible support to the goals outlined in the Roadmap.

As we continue to provide resources, educational opportunities, vocational learning opportunities and more, we hope everyone in our community will help uplift the Roadmap and deliver on its goals and ideals. We also expect there are many tools and resources yet to be realized by the Roadmap laid before us, so as always we welcome feedback on the programs we offer.

Committee of the Whole

On August 17th, Leslie Palmer-Ross attended the Minneapolis City Council “Committee of the Whole” meeting to express Art Force’s heartfelt support of this important milestone for the creative economy of Minneapolis and the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. To watch the testimony from Leslie and other community leaders, please see the video below and a transcript of Leslie’s testimony.

Transcript: Testimony by Leslie Palmer-Ross

Good Morning,

My name is Leslie Palmer-Ross, and I am the Art Director at Art Force in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Art Force is a provider of artwork and artwork services. I am here today to support the Creative City Road Map. In my job, I have the daily opportunity to witness the profound positive impact the arts have on both practitioners and viewers. I believe that it is critical that our city adopt a plan to integrate into the fabric of the city our vision to maintain, strengthen, and broaden our arts community and our arts economy. There is work to do.

The president of our company and I were able to contribute both to the Creative Vitality Index and to serve on the Work Group Teams for the Creative City Road Map. The process was thoughtful and inclusive. Many of our company initiatives are in alignment with the goals of the Road Map.

Art Force provides a distribution channel for visual artists in Minneapolis and employs 22 people. We believe that we are the largest arts based employer in Northeast Minneapolis.

We recently created a free online collaborative learning community called Art Force Academy that offers business programming for Artist Entrepreneurs, a curriculum for those interested in being art consultants and varied content about art topics for Art Enthusiasts. (that should be everyone!)

We are developing a program with Edison High School to help demonstrate the options for careers in a creative field.

Our Wings program of art offerings provides artists who may be marginalized with a forum in which to sell their work.

We have a community fund that shares a portion of our revenue with organizations in our neighborhood.

We have created a space within our business called the Venture Lab in which we hold events, host meetings, conduct educational programming etc.

Being in the art business is not easy but its contributions to society have significant value, financially and intrinsically. Please join me in supporting the approval of the Creative City Road Map to guide our community’s creative life for years to come.

A Decade of Growth

The Roadmap will take the support of our entire community to deliver on its objectives. As the goals of the Roadmap continue to roll into initiatives across the community, we will share periodic updates.

Thank you to everyone who made this milestone possible! We would love to hear your take on the Roadmap in the comments section below and thank you for being a member and part of this movement to create a stronger creative economy.










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