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Pollen Picks

⦿ Philanthrofund (PFund) Foundation  — Executive Director

⦿ Zipnosis — Account Manager

⦿ World Savvy — Director of Partnerships


⦿ Eveline Martinez as their new Events Sales Manager for Union Depot

⦿ Julie Fliflet was hired as the Director of Finance and Administration at the Freshwater Society

⦿ Jason Reed was named as a 2014 American Express NGen National Fellow with Independent Sector


⦿ August 21 - Grantmaking for the 21st Century Series - Philanthropy in Context

⦿ August 26 - Torch Community Presents The Arts: The Lifeblood of Culture

⦿ September 1 - BE CONNECTED To Effective Networking



Volume 104

A Note From Pollen

Dear Pollenites,

This summer is going by too fast! Another issue of Pollen is ready for you with dozens of new opportunities for action: jobs, events, updates, and engagement galore. In this volume, we share a personal story about Minneapolis artist Laura Holway's transition toward taking a pause and scaling down in your work to find greater impact and success. 

In September, Pollen's new website will launch in beta and we'll be looking for super-Pollenites to engage with us and give feedback. That could look like anything from just trying out a link and filling out a survey to meeting with us and letting us know your thoughts. If you're interested, please send Jamie Millard an email and she'll be in touch with next steps: We're very excited about how this new technology and digital platform will improve the experience for all Pollen members to create a better connected community.  

Special heads-up: there are still a few spots open on the Generation Now Leadership Visit to Fargo, North Dakota. Building on the enormous success of the inaugural visit to Milwaukee, the 2nd annual GNLV is a 3-day to trip for innovative and emerging leaders September 10-12. Pollen is a proud sponsor and we'll be riding on the bus along with 50+ others—sign up here

Next issue of Pollen will publish September 1 and all submissions should be sent in by Friday, August 29 to


Small Art: An Interview with Laura Holway

///// Interview by Nancy Rosenbaum /// Photos by Marie Ketring /////

At the outset of her career, Minneapolis artist Laura Holway thought of success as scaling up: securing more grants, staging bigger productions, and receiving invitations from ever-more prestigious venues to present her performance work. But then she discovered that getting external validation didn’t necessarily translate into personal happiness.

While so many of us (and the institutions we work for) feel pressured to scale up and impact increasing numbers of people, Laura’s story speaks to benefits of taking a pause and scaling down a notch. Here’s a tribute to the hard-won rewards of creating our own successful manifestos.

When choreographer and curator Laura Holway, 31, was still an undergrad in the theater department at St. Olaf College back in the early 2000s, the adult future she imagined for herself went something like this: Get a Ph.D. and wow people with her ivory-tower amazingness.

But after graduation, she scrapped her Ph.D. plan for another kind of success script—that of a  reputable working artist. “Once I realized I wanted to make my own work,” she says, “what made sense was to climb the grant totem pole. Having someone else say, ‘Yes! Your work is okay and it’s worthy of funding!’ seemed like the dream.”

In 2011, it appeared as though Laura's dream was coming true when she was invited to turn a 15-minute dance piece into an evening-length show at Minneapolis' Red Eye Theater. The intimate "I Like You" showcased Laura's infatuation with human connection. But soon after getting the gig, she began to self-impose pressure about its success, which only landed her sleepless, depressed, and in debt. She needed to do some soul searching and decide what her definition of “success” actually was. Here's her take on how she figured out what mattered to her.


 After “I Like You” ended, I gave myself permission to take a total break and reevaluate a lot of things. I needed to convince myself that I could have an identity outside of being an artist. I told myself, “It's okay if I don't make anything for years.” I had to think about what I even liked. I didn't know what I was passionate about anymore or what was a driving force in my life. I suffered from a lot of personal anxiety and depression. I was driven by false things: a desire for achievement and approval and a desire to show certain people in my life that I could be legitimate as an artist.

My husband suggested that I ask people I admire out to lunch and that I just talk to them about their creative work. At the time, it was terrifying to me because a big thing of experiencing severe depression is that you're really self-conscious in making eye contact with strangers. Going outside your comfort zone is really hard.

I took [content strategist] Kate O'Reilly out and I was so inspired by her and how she'd essentially made up a job for herself. And I thought, I can make up a job for myself. I just need to think about this whole idea of creativity differently. I need to start with what is interesting to me and work out from there.

I started paying attention to anything that gave me that tremor of joy. And it really seemed to be connected to people. I loved interviewing people and I loved hearing what was honestly hard for them. I started a blog. And, I was just saying yes to whatever seemed interesting. When someone would say, “read that book or call that person or go to this website,” I did it.

Kate asked me if I wanted to be the volunteer coordinator for Artcrank. I knew it wouldn’t pay, but I thought I might learn something. And I did. I met Charles Youel who runs Artcrank and I was so inspired by the model. It totally informs my work to this day, which is a model of unlikely collaboration.

After being there, I still wasn't sure I wanted to make anything, but I knew I wasn't going to make something completely on my own again; that despite being an introvert, I needed collaborators.

In December 2012, Laura and her husband Ben invited a musician, a poet, and a dancer to perform in their living room. They put the word out and called the event “Small Art.” Twenty people showed up. Laura didn’t know it at the time, but Small Art would grow into an evolving series. Later, it would open the doors to other opportunities.

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Volume 104: Props

Jane Townsend

Townsend was hired as Senior Development Officer for the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.

Kate Lucas

Lucas, a longtime Pollenite, was chosen for the Loft Literary Center’s 2014-15 Mentor Series in Poetry.

Jason Reed

Reed was named as a 2014 American Express NGen National Fellow with Independent Sector.

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Volume 104: Openings


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Volume 104: Events

August 15

The Visitor Center hosts the 2014 Summer Symposium
The programming for the DIY Sustainable Adventure Art Symposium is intended for both personal and collective growth. They will share our skills and ideas with each other through lectures, discussions, and artist talks, work in groups on the site's infrastructure development projects, and have plenty of individual time to create artwork.

August 20

Public Affairs Series: The Future of Transportation - Planes, Trains, and…Dedicated Guideway BRT?
With Governor Dayton calling transportation the number one priority for 2015, this is a hot issue that is not going away. Join SPACC and regional transit experts for a discussion on the future of transportation in the East Metro. Where are we now, where are we going and how will we pay for it? Learn the answers to these questions and more, straight from the industry experts. Connect with fellow business leaders and discover what the future holds for an issue that affects businesses big and small throughout the entire region!

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Volume 104: Inspiration


Calls to Action

  • Registration for Generation Now Leadership Visit 2014 is now open. Building on the enormous success of the inaugural visit to Milwaukee, the 2nd annual GNLV is a 3-day to trip to Fargo for innovative leaders. The GNLV provides professionals opportunities to strengthen your leadership skills for personal and civic development.

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