The Rafala Green Fellowship Program

Promoting equity & inclusion among communities often underrepresented in the real estate development field



Please review the updated program timeline below. 


Apply today to the Rafala Green Fellowship Program!

Applications are now open for the Rafala Green Fellowship Program, which seeks to place two additional fellows, for two years at the Artspace headquarters in Minneapolis, MN from September 2020 -- August 2022.


The Rafala Green Fellowship Program is named in honor of the late Rafala Green, an African American artist, community activist, and former Artspace board member who helped Artspace make enduring bridges into the Twin Cities's African American community in the 1990s.  Green is best known for her painting, loom-work, mosaics, and her mentorship. She is also known for her development of the Touchstone Plaza, a cultural cornerstone at Peavey Park in Minneapolis, and her renowned ability to use art as an effective tool for advancing social change.

The mission of the Rafala Green Fellowship Program, made possible with funding from the Ford Foundation, is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for people from communities traditionally underrepresented in the real estate development field. Fellows will be introduced to the core competencies of property development and exposed to Artspace best practices while working on current projects in the Artspace pipeline across the country.



The Rafala Green Fellowship Program is open to individuals who are interested in becoming the next generation of diverse leaders working at the intersection of arts, real estate, and community development with a desire to  create,  enhance,  and fulfill equitable opportunities for people of color and Indigenous people through property development and/or community development.

Fellows will be based within the Properties division (which includes the property development and asset management departments)  at Artspace headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Fellows work full-time engaging in practitioner-based curriculum and cross-departmental learning opportunities.

Fellows can expect to apply their existing skills and growing knowledge to projects within the Artspace development pipeline; learn Artspace best practices; gain access to national leaders in the field; and expand their network through attending several professional development activities and arts and cultural events across the country.

Professional development support activities and opportunities include, but are not limited to:

*      Arts-centered engagement with Artspace's prolific network of artist residents, tenants, and community partners
*      Access to educational and engaging travel experiences including work in distinct cultural communities
*      Engagement with foundations, funders, and national leaders in the creative economy
*      Federal, state, and local government relations
*      Access to a robust and experienced Board of Directors, mentors, and leaders in the field
*      Attendance at national and regional housing and community development conferences

*      Peer review and mentoring across sectors of property development, consulting, and fundraising
*      Development of housing, commercial, mixed-use, performance, and exhibition projects
*      Site evaluation
*      Funding application completion (e.g., Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, etc.)
*      Project capital and operational financial modeling (e.g., Performa modeling)
*      Lender and investor relations, selection, and negotiation
*      Architectural and engineering design input, review, and due diligence
*      General contractor selection, negotiation, and oversight
*      Securing development entitlements, such as zoning and permitting
*      Community engagement
*      Co-producing/co-hosting the Artspace Podcast "Artspace Perspectives"

Each Fellow will receive a $50,000 annual salary during the two-year term of their fellowship, as well as a comprehensive benefits package. Fellows will also receive up to $3,000 as a relocation stipend to move to the Twin Cities.



The Rafala Green Fellowship Program is open to individuals who are involved in community development or the arts, interested in real estate development, and committed to creating, enhancing, and fulfilling equitable opportunities for people of color and Indigenous people through real estate development. Apply today or share with others who would welcome this unique opportunity to work and learn at Artspace. People of color and members of Indigenous communities are encouraged to apply.


Application Deadline February 15, 2020 (new date)
Cohort 2 Fellows announced June 1, 2020 (new date)
Cohort 2 orientation date TBD
Fellowship Cohort 2, September 2020 - August 2022


It takes a "village" to advance an Artspace project. Artspace's Properties team interfaces with a wide range of people from across the country. Our organization's ability to engage with community stakeholders, culture bearers, artists, developers, architects, philanthropic leaders, private investors, city and state officials, and the greater community that surrounds our buildings is the key to our success. Applicants to the Rafala Green Fellowship program are preferred, but not required to have the following traits, skills, and/or experience:

*    Bachelor's Degree in one the following fields: Finance, Economics, Political Science, Community Development, Urban Planning, Business, Non-profit Management, or a related field

*    3 - 5 years of professional experience

*    Desire to learn and take on complex problems

*    Comfortable working in rural and  urban  communities, and with people from various ethnic, cultural, or regional backgrounds

*    Value artists and creative communities

*    Passionate about affordable housing

*    Familiarity with various public and private financing tools for real estate and economic development

*    Strong analytic skills and proficiency in the use of Excel spreadsheet software

*    Confident presentation and public speaking skills

*    Professional writing skills, including technical writing and storytelling

*    Ability to take initiative and think critically under pressure with the goal of finding creative solutions to complex and technical problems

*    Ability to work well both independently and as part of a team with colleagues at all levels

*    Ability to effectively manage and coordinate multiple projects concurrently


To apply for the Rafala Green Fellowship program, please provide the following application materials to submit a complete application. Only complete applications will be considered for review:
1.    One-page cover letter expressing your interest in the fellowship, with a summary of your relevant professional experiences
2.    Resume
3.    Three letters of recommendation
4.    Answers to each of the three questions below in essay form. Responses to each individual question should be no longer than one page:
*    What do you hope to gain as a fellow in The Rafala Green Fellowship program? How do you feel your personal and/or professional goals intersect with the Artspace mission?
*    Tell us about a project where you had to work closely with a community to complete a project. What were the challenges and triumphs of that work?
*    Describe a time you faced mounting challenges at work. What actions did you take to overcome those challenges?



Application materials should be submitted via email, in PDF format to Shaela Wilson at Please include the subject line - Rafala Green Fellowship Application.

All applications must be received by 6:00 pm Central Standard Time on February 15, 2020.

Only complete applications will be considered for review. For more information about this program contact Shaela Wilson at



Last year, Artspace welcomed Rafala Green Fellows Amanda Cortés and Jeremy Staab  for the 2018-20 iteration of the program. Cortés hails from Chicago, where she works with a myriad of artistic, housing, and community organizations including Chicago ACT Collective, Instituto Grafico de Chicago (IGC), and the City of Chicago supporting the work of Alderman Ricardo Muñoz in the 22-Ward. Staab is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and has served in many management roles at First Peoples Fund (FPF), a national Native-led nonprofit organization that puts artists and culture bearers at the center of community development. Read Jeremy and Amanda's reflections on their first year as Rafala Green Fellows in an excerpt from the 2018 Artspace Annual Report below.

Printables/ Downloads