Foundations Renew Support for ArtsLab Program

The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation, in partnership with the F.R. Bigelow, Mardag, Saint Paul, and Bush foundations, has announced $1.9 million in renewed support for Arts Midwest's ArtsLab program.

The program, which works to strengthen the leadership and strategy development efforts of small Minnesota arts organizations through training, consultations, and other types of support, will use the funds to launch a two-year peer-learning community to promote shared learning and bolster the infrastructure of sixteen organizations. The funds also will be used to launch an "idea exchange" that gathers and shares the best leadership and management development ideas from mentors, educators, and arts organization leaders in the Minneapolis area.

Launched in 1999 as a pilot project by six funders seeking better approaches to building leadership and management skills in community-based arts organizations, the ArtsLab program has been credited with helping arts groups strengthen their leadership skills and resiliency, grow their budgets, and build new community relationships.

"ArtsLab is a proven and powerful tool for developing courageous community leaders," said Catherine Jordan, the Bush Foundation's director for advancing solutions. "We are excited about the opportunity to support ArtsLab in its work to connect and support leaders with new resources for facilitating community conversations that lead to change in their communities."