Whether she's performing at
"My work is really informed by my experience as a performer and, particularly, sketch comedy," says Zabel, 39. She has performed with
One of Springboard's best-known projects is its Community Supported Art, which Zabel describes as a traditional CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, "except with art instead of vegetables."
Building on the same buy-local spirit that drives people to sign up for regular boxes of zucchini and kale, Springboard's CSA gives its patrons drawings and sculptures from local artists. The CSA program regularly sells out, as it did this year (the art was delivered yesterday), and Springboard staffers have prepared a "toolkit" that has helped spread the concept to dozens of cities around the country.
Springboard also has offices in
Other Springboard projects include an initiative to support artists' work along the newly opened Green Line, helping thousands of Minnesotans realize that the things they do (knitting, singing in choirs, acting in community theater) make them artists, and connecting artists with health care resources.
"We refer to Springboard as a community development organization that happens to be run by artists," says Zabel. "Part of our goal is to get more people to connect with their capacity to create."
In fact, Zabel says one thing that makes her job rewarding is that it seems to re-create itself every 18 months or so, as its staff members learn more about
"It's a place where I can really explore this double passion of arts and community organization," says Zabel. And, as her answers to our 10 questions reveal, she's ready to put her money where her mouth is.
Q: What would you do if you had a million dollars?
A: I would support thousands of artists to do small projects in their own neighborhoods.
Q: What's your motto?
A: We have this one at Springboard that I love, which is, "Thrilled and daunted." That's the place I want to live, where there are things I believe in that are scary enough that they're worth doing.
Q: Where's your favorite place to be?
A: In my backyard (in
Q: Who would play you in a movie?
A: I guess I would pick
Q: What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
A: Taking this job.
Q: What are you thinking about when you are about to begin a project?
A: Who are the people that need to be at the table for this? How do I meet the right people? For me, it's all about that: people and relationships.
Q: When did you know you wanted a life in the arts?
A: I can't really remember not wanting that. I played the very critical role of the cat in a kindergarten production of "Peter Rabbit" and have been pretty much hooked ever since.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Working at Vista in
Q: What's the best thing about your job?
A: The people I get to work with in the office are incredible and are definitely part of the reason I get up every day. And the people we work with on these projects are so generous; they give you faith in humanity.
Q: Who do you admire most?
A: People who are optimistic and practical and passionate. Locally, I admire
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