Childs has more than a decade's hands-on experience working in the arts-based community development field. She has organized neighborhood art festivals and guided artists and communities though the "how to" of creating public art projects. One of her most exciting (and cold!) roles was being an artist and organizer of the Art Shanty Projects in which artists designed interactive fishing shacks to encourage community through cultural exchange in underutilized spaces (ie. a frozen lake).
While serving as Artist Services Program Director and consultant for Forecast Public Art in Minneapolis, Childs designed professional and economic development training programs for artists and communities seeking to use art to activate their environments and economies. She managed Forecast's annual grant programs, participated in numerous grant committees, and served on the planning committee for the Great Places Initiative. Childs also worked on planning artist specific content for the Public Art Network's annual conference.
Childs relocated to northern Wisconsin from Minneapolis in 2014 to work in rural cultural development. As ArtStart's Development Director, Melinda Childs works to build individual, community and financial relationships that promote ArtStart and the arts as vital to the regions creative and economic wellbeing. Current projects including building regional arts programs in the form of artist retreats, residencies, and gatherings to strengthen and sustain the community.
Childs lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin with her artist husband-Jaron, two young children-Roan and Singer and dog Kasper where they lead an art and nature filled life.