Home / Blog  / Springboard for the Arts and TCG Announce New Artist Organizer at Lyndale Gardens

Poet and Performance Artist Molly Van Avery to Begin on July 8, Position Supported by the Surdna Foundation

By: Carl Atiya Swanson

St. Paul/Richfield, MN – Springboard for the Arts and The Cornerstone Group are excited to announce their partnership to place an Artist Organizer on the development team for the Lyndale Gardens project at 6400 Lyndale Avenue South in Richfield, MN. Molly Van Avery has been appointed to the Artist Organizer position and will begin on 8 July 2013. This Artist Organizer position is made possible with support from the Surdna Foundation.

Molly Van Avery is a poet, performance artist, educator and arts advocate. Most recently, Van Avery co-curated the Bedlam Theatre 10Fest at Mixed Blood Theater and is an artist with the arts-based community development project Arts on Chicago. Van Avery is a recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Grant, the Jerome Travel and Study Grant, and the Naked Stages Grant for emerging performance artists. She will complete an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in December 2013. Van Avery will work closely with The Cornerstone Group to highlight the creativity and vitality of Richfield, her childhood stomping ground. She is deeply committed to transforming Lyndale Gardens into a place that showcases the work of Richfield artists while feeding people’s bodies and imaginations.

“We are so excited about Molly joining our team,” says The Cornerstone Group President Colleen Carey. “The funding from the Surdna Foundation and the support of Springboard for the Arts will help us to realize one of our most important dreams for the project, to incorporate art and artists into the design, to engage the neighborhood in the creation of this space and to explore the ways that we can program the spaces to provide ongoing opportunities for art to enrich lives and build community.”

“At a time when businesses are talking about the need for creativity in their work, it is exciting to partner with a company like The Cornerstone Group who are making that a reality. We know that artists are a creative force to be mobilized and the reciprocal relationship between artists, the developer and the community is strengthened through this Artist Organizer position.” – Springboard for the Arts Executive Director Laura Zabel

Van Avery is the fifth Artist Organizer placed by Springboard for the Arts, and the first in a for-profit company. The other current Artists Organizers are Vong Lee at the Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Oskar Ly at Project for Pride in Living, Soozin Hirschmugl at the Trust for Public Land and the Kristen Murray at Saint Paul Public Schools. These four Artist Organizer positions are through Irrigate, an initiative of Springboard for the Arts, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the City of Saint Paul.


The Cornerstone Group is a full-service real estate company of thinkers, creators and do-ers who share a passion for protecting our planet. For the past 20 years, we have been doing what we love, and the communities we work with love what we do. The mission of The Cornerstone Group is to transform the spaces that surround us into the places that inspire us.

From affordable housing to high-end condos, we customize our real estate services to best meet the challenge at hand, holistically and whole-heartedly. Our services include, but are never limited to: Real Estate Development, Project Management, Asset Management, Investment Analysis & Consultation, Construction Administration & Monitoring, Urban Planning, Sales & Marketing Coordination, Property Repositioning & Workouts.


Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Our work is about building stronger communities, neighborhoods, and economies, and we believe that artists are an important leverage point in that work. Springboard for the Arts’ mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life.

Our work is about creating communities and artists that have a reciprocal relationship, where artists are key contributors to community issues and are visible and valued for the impact they create. We do this work by creating simple, practical solutions and systems to support artists. Those programs support our goal to help create a local culture movement.


The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States – communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.

For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity.