We’re in the thick of end-of-the-school-year celebrations, recitals and performances at my house. It’s rare that I don’t get at least a little choked up during the curtain call of any performance, add kids and it’s pretty much guaranteed. When it’s my own kid? Well, I’m a goner. As I found myself streaming tears after an elementary school performance of The...
the big picture: laura zabel on art’s new roles in the community I always love when John Spayde writes about our work. He has a real depth of understanding and level of nuance that really resonates with me. In this nice feature on The Line, he manages to cut through my excited talking and hand waving and make sense of what I’m trying to say. ...
Shine or Undermine?
This won’t be the most popular thing I ever write. The most popular thing I ever wrote is this letter I wrote when I got really mad at the Governor of Kansas. Which makes sense – we share things that are “against”, “take downs”, “rebuttals”, and “refutations” Don’t get me wrong, I love a well-worded smack down, especially if I agree with the author. And, certainly, there are many ideas who’ve...
Knight Foundation Blog
Thanks to the Knight Foundation for this feature on their blog about our new healthcare toolkit and an interview with meeeeeee. Connecting Artists to Communities
Springboard for the Arts: Springboard’s Artists... →
Really proud of this work and excited to see what happens next! springboardarts: Artists’ Access to Healthcare: Simple innovation can equal big change Access to healthcare is one of the biggest career threats to making a life as an individual artist. With the individual health insurance requirement on the horizon, the need for artists to connect to…
Guest Post for State of the Artist
The McKnight Foundation asked me to respond to their fantastic data visualization project that they created for the artist fellowship program. Zig-zagging Careers and the Artists Who Love Them “It makes me think that artists are like bees—going from flower to flower, pollinating, creating hybrids, feeding, taking, making things bloom.”
OpEd in MinnPost
Thanks to MinnPost for publishing this piece I wrote with Andriana Abariotes: Let’s use the power of the arts to stimulate community development “Creating or experiencing art can give people a fulfilling sense of personal power. We all have something to say about the world, and art helps us find our voice. It can also help us find each other. Arts activities provide valuable...
My Arts Aunties.
In the midst of the swirling conversation started (this time) by Sheryl Sandberg, Forbes published this piece called Why Women Need Sponsors Not Mentors. And it made me reflect on all of the incredible people who have helped me along the way. There is so much value in the idea of mentorship. I don’t mean the kind that comes from a program, but in real, authentic friendship that involves advice...
Instructions for Life (according to Mom)
A while ago I was looking for my daughter’s birth certificate and my marriage certificate. This involved dragging a file cabinet out from under a pile of shoes/junk/suitcases/flotsam in the back of my closet and then searching through smushed papers/manuals for electronics I owned in college/diplomas/birthday cards from files that are labeled important/misc/save and looking for the...
I’m honored to be included in this round of trends from this week’s Pollen: http://bepollen.com/pollen/trend-spotting-in-2013.html
In which I reveal I know nothing about sports.
(maybe we should be inviting people to wear helmets and braids to the opera instead of trying to dispel the Brünnehilde myth) Yesterday the Guthrie announced they were ending the year in the black. Good for them. But also in this article in the StarTribune they announced their year end attendance figures of 425,932. I have to admit that number really startled me. The Guthrie’s total...
In defense of yes. (or at least "oh alright, I...
It’s very much in vogue right now to espouse the benefits of “saying no” And, of course, I believe that you shouldn’t do things that make you unhappy or work with people who don’t add to or feed the work. But I also believe there is great value in sometimes doing the thing you don’t want to do, doing someone a favor, even doing something out of obligation. Because sometimes that thing we think...
Letter to the Tulsa Ballet
(I wrote this a few years ago, but the blog we hosted it on is long gone, so I thought I’d share it here) Dear Tulsa Ballet, Thank you. Over 25 years ago you gave me an incredible gift. Your touring company came to my small Kansas town and I got to be in your Nutcracker production. I was actually in the production twice – once in 1983 and again in 1985. In 1983, I was 8 years old and I...
Guest post for Americans for the Arts →
AFTA has a great blog salon on scaling happening this week. And they asked me to contribute! Welcome to the Argument in My Head
Guest post for National Arts Strategies
NAS asked me to contribute some thoughts on value and the arts, as a part of their Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders. Here are those thoughts: Just be valuable.
Here, there and everywhere.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. At least a lot more than I ever have in my life. I even have that fancy medallion status on Delta, just like all the fancy business people. On the one hand sometimes these trips feel like a blur of planes, cabs, hotels, nametags and receptions. On the other hand they enrich my work and my life in innumerable ways. I always learn something, meet great...
Guest post on Minnesota Playlist
How Do You Define Quality? I’ve decided I’m Quality Agnostic - I believe it exists but I think it is unknowable.
Tour of the Kirkbride
I had an amazing experience today. I was visiting Michele, Springboard’s Rural Program Director, at our office in Fergus Falls, MN. Michele arranged a special tour of the historic Kirkbride building. A bit about the 750,000 (yeah, you read that right!) square foot building: The Fergus Falls RTC, known commonly as the “Kirkbride Complex,” was named after psychiatrist and founding member of...
Tonight I got to attend the final pick-up event of a very successful Community Supported Art program in Fargo, ND. Like all the CSAs I’ve had the great fortune to visit, this one is unique and completely locally-owned. Dayna Del Val of the Arts Partnership in Fargo is a truly passionate and inspired leader and has done amazing things in a very short amount of time. I love seeing the ways that...
Visit to the Denver Botanic Garden
Last week I had the best layover ever. Enroute to meetings for the Knight Foundation National Arts Advisory Committee in Aspen, I arranged a quick trip to the Denver Botanic Garden. Well, I actually didn’t arrange anything, Lisa Eldred, the fabulous Director of Exhibitions at the garden arranged everything for me. I got to see the amazing gardens, including these wonderful installations by...
Thanks to Vitamin W for this really nice piece that really captures Springboard’s work. http://vitaminw.co/entrepreneur/laura-zabel-community-supported-artists
I heard Anna Deveare Smith speak on a panel in Aspen. She said “I’ve stopped looking for justice. Now I’m just looking for grace.” I love this. I’ve thought of it so often since I heard her say it. Grace. Feels so much more productive and forward moving. There’s a gentleness, a “benefit of the doubt” and forgiveness quality to that word. A word...
Elementary School Students Interpret Barnes... →
creativephl: The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) is pleased to present Mini-Masterpieces from the Barnes Foundation, a project administered by Fresh Artists in collaboration with The Barnes Foundation, and Philadelphia’s Hancock and Henry Elementary Schools. Featuring 60 vibrant interpretations of popular Impressionists and Post-Impressionist works...
Making Cities Sing - Aspen Ideas Festival
This was one of my favorite sessions at the Ideas Festival -it’s worth watching the video of the full session - which is now available here: Making Cities Sing In urban centers around the country, local governments are looking to attract emerging industries and the next generation of entrepreneurs. At the same time, there is an increasing synergy between cities, philanthropies, and arts...
A few thoughts on Creative Class
This is a great article by Jon Talton for the Seattle Times: Richard Florida’s creative class, 10 years later This, in particular, resonated with me: Although Richard Florida’s theory was criticized, misunderstood and provoked more than a little academic jealousy, he forever shifted the lens through which we see the tectonic shifts in our economy and society. To my mind, part of...
Pirate, Robot, Ninja →
This is one of my favorite ideas - a great theory for improv, for management, for life. I particularly like the idea that each of us has the capacity to play all these roles. We all have roles we’re more comfortable in or better at, but a great time is made of people who can see the role that a given situation needs and do that. Most of the time I’m a ninja-y pirate, I think.
I just got back from Philadelphia where I was helping to launch two new Community Supported Art programs, based on the model and toolkit we developed at Springboard with mnartists.org. I was only there for 24 hours, but it was packed with fun. Circus performers outside City Hall as part of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s City Hall Presents program, a winner of the...
Reflection on the Aspen Ideas Festival
I was really lucky to have been asked to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival this year. It was an amazing experience and, quite honestly, I’m still processing it. I had 3 primary activities: 1. We ran a Community Supported Art program, in partnership with the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute Arts Program. Andy did most of the work before I got there, so I mostly got to handle all...
Exception to the Rule →
guest post for Leadership and Community
Creative Placemaking: Logic Models and Love →
Importance of Being Ordinary →
I wrote this for the new McKnight Foundation blog. It stirred up some great conversation.
Open Letter to Governor Brownback →
A letter I wrote to Governor Brownback about why I don’t live in Kansas anymore. More people have read this than anything else I’ve ever written.
Love Something. Do Something. →
This was the keynote address I wrote for the 2011 MN Rising (un)conference.
Blog Post: Thing Globally Act Locally →
I wrote this guest blog on Leadership and Community after I returned from Summit on the Sea - a conference aboard a cruise ship for young entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and social enterprisers.