Mar 13, 2019

Notes from the Field: Immersion Twin Cities


For those that are not familiar, Immersion is an organizational capacity-building program that empowers the leadership of arts nonprofits to strategically plan for their space-related initiative. During the program, we meet monthly to cover topics such as project concept refinement, cost analysis, fundraising and funding, site assessment, and goal setting. The Artspace Consulting team also provides each organization with customized, one-on-one technical assistance.

The Twin Cities cohort, launched February 2018, will culminate with Artspace Immersion: Spotlight in the Goodale Theater at the Cowles Center on June 12. The evening will celebrate the accomplishments of diverse organizations – from large, long-standing pillars to new groups challenging the norm with alternative models. Each of the nine organizations will share the vision for their new space, the progress they made over the last 18 months, and their next steps. 

As each organization reveals their plans in quick succession, an expansive vision will emerge of the highs and lows that all arts organizations face in the development process. Spotlight will applaud the journey these amazing arts administrators have been on, and the progress they are making in strides, with results that will physically change the Twin Cities arts landscape as their projects come to fruition. 

Though the end of this Twin Cities cohort is bittersweet, Immersion is continuing full steam ahead. We launched a cohort in Memphis in October 2018, and are preparing for a Detroit cohort which will launch fall of 2019. The Memphis cohort will travel to the Twin Cities in June, and will attend the Spotlight event. By convening these leaders from Twin Cities and Memphis, we hope the organizations will expand their understanding of the process as well as their professional network among likeminded organizations. While in Minnesota, the Memphis cohort will also attend a workshop with Artspace staff and tour arts facilities, including some of the Twin Cities cohort’s current locations. 

In each city we work, Artspace Immersion empowers leaders to think through their projects in new ways, with new resources and tools. Cohort participants tell us that in addition to working on their group’s space-related initiative, they also apply what they learn to the work they do as board members, volunteers, and/or staff of other organizations. As these connections emerge, ideas crosspollinate, and the creative sector’s support system strengthens. By the end of the program, some groups will be close to launch, while others will take a multi-year approach. The lasting effects of participation in the program will play out over time. Ultimately, with Artspace Immersion, Artspace is doing more than building arts buildings. We are nurturing other arts organizations to tackle their own space-related goals for their own communities, accelerating a national movement of artist-led community development.

Excerpt from the Artspace QUARTERLY #5: The Mesa Issue

We went from crisis to crisis for many years. Artspace is getting us to think multi-year in our strategic and financial planning. We now have a multi-year gaze as we prepare proactively for a future capital campaign.


This opportunity came at absolutely the right time for us. We’re using every minute of it to our benefit in institutionalizing change. At the end of the day, we’d have to say that we are learning about ourselves from Artspace, and this is invaluable.

St. Paul Ballet / Element Gym