MISSION

Art of the Rural is a collaborative organization with a mission to advance rural culture and quality of life through relationships that connect communities, cultivate dialogue, and forward rural-urban exchange. We seek to collectively embody the value, diversity, and nuance of contemporary rural culture and inspire lasting connections to rural people and places.

We work with folks across the country to create the conditions for field building, knowledge sharing, and rural-urban exchange. This practice transcends the traditional dividing lines of culture, discipline, and geography, and in doing so, aims to dramatically reframe the narrative and the futures for rural places.

Art of the Rural began in January 2009 as a blog and a digital media effort focused on sharing models for contemporary rural creative work. As the internet in the early 2010’s caught up with rural folks’s aspirations to connect and collaborate, Art of the Rural evolved — offering national convenings, alongside region-focused projects, to stimulate networks of learning and exchange.

This work has progressed as a series of longterm initiatives, each over six years old at this point: the Rural Generation initiative on culture and creative community development; the River Summit initiative focused on the culture, landscape, and industry of the Mississippi River; and the Rural-Urban Exchange, which offers a creative leadership network to folks across Kentucky and, next year, in Minnesota. In 2020, in collaboration with the Plains Art Museum, Art of the Rural will also launch High Visibility: On Location in Rural America and Indian Country, a multi-year, multi-region initiative that matches exhibitions, place-based projects, convenings, and publications towards expanding the national narrative on rural arts and culture.

Though Art of the Rural’s work reaches across many geographies, we are headquartered at our Public Launch collaborative community space located in downtown Winona, Minnesota — a town located within Dakota homelands, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

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Support for this work across our initiatives is made possible by ArtPlace America, Arts Midwest, Boats and Bluegrass, the Bush Foundation, Hope Enterprise Corporation, Illinois Humanities, the McKnight Foundation, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, WESTAF, the Winona Foundation, and a Divided City grant made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

We are also grateful for the support of individuals who have contributed towards our mission. To join these folks in standing by our work, please follow this link.