BEST ART SERVICE - 2002
A nod here must go to Springboard for the Arts, the laudable St. Paul-based group that assists artists with career planning, money management, taxes, rights licensing, and job-seeking. (It even provides low-interest loans for entrepreneurial arts projects and small grants to help artists meet emergency expenses.) This year, though, we recognize mnartists.org, the New York Yankees of the local art-service world. What else can you say of a site that boasts the organizational muscle of both the Walker Art Center and the McKnight Foundation, perhaps the best one-two punch since Gehrig-Ruth? Founded to respond to the survival struggles of individual artists, mnartists.org functions as an online database for creative types from all disciplines. Here one finds listings for hundreds of performance artists, painters, craftspeople, media artists, writers, designers, and the like, all under one virtual roof. As a result, mnartists.org has quickly become an invaluable resource. It provides each member with her own Web page for self-promotion. It presents news, listings, calls for artists, and stories by local arts writers about the local scene. And it doesn't stop there. Further plans call for mnartists.org to become a marketplace and community hub, giving the public a new way to explore and buy art and to learn about their local team of artists. Whoever said this wasn't a big-league city?