WHO WE ARE

Matthew Fluharty, Founder and Executive Director

Matthew Fluharty is a visual artist, writer, and field-based researcher living in Winona, Minnesota, a town placed along the Mississippi River. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Art of the Rural and a member of M12 Studio an award-winning interdisciplinary group of artists, researchers, and writers. Matthew also serves on the Board of Directors of Common Field, a national effort that connects, supports and advocates for the artist-centered field, and he is a member of the steering committee for the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.

His collaborations with M12 Studio have been featured at the Santa Fe Art Institute and the Iowa State Fair, while his multidisciplinary collaboration with Jesse Vogler and Jennifer Colten in the East St. Louis American Bottom floodplain was recently featured in Art in America. He is the co-convener of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Anthropocene River Field Station in St. Louis.

Matthew’s poetry and essays have been widely published in the US and abroad. His essay “Burn the Maps,” considering contemporary rural-based art and cultural practice, was commissioned Walker Art Center for their convening Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, and he also recently was commissioned by MnArtists and the Walker to serve as a guest editor for a series on local practice that bridges rural and urban cultural work. In late 2019, Colorfield, a book of poems, essays, and visual fieldwork in rural places, will be published in the US and Europe by Last Chance Press. Matthew is co-curating The River, an exhibition opening at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in February 2020, and High Visibility: On Location in Rural America, opening at the Plains Art Museum in November of 2020.

Matthew was born and raised in Appalachian Ohio and helps out when he can at Foster Fluharty Farms, his family’s seventh-generation farm.

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Savannah Barrett, Director of Programs

Savannah Barrett is the Director of Programs for Art of the Rural and co-founder of the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange. She serves the board of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Art of Community: Rural SC, and the Robert E. Gard Foundation. She has widely published essays and interviews. She holds a Masters of Arts Management from the University of Oregon, and is an alumnus of the Muhammad Ali Scholars for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville and from the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. She previously guided programs for the Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy, the Louisville Visual Art Association, the Oregon Folklife Network, and Paul Paletti Gallery.  Savannah is a twelfth-generation Kentuckian and was raised in Grayson Springs, where she co-founded a local arts agency in high school. She is a proud steward of six acres of her homeplace and currently lives in Louisville.

Our Board of Directors:

  1. Izzy Broomfield– Mountain Tech Media, Hindman, KY
  2. Anna Claussen – Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, Minneapolis, MN
  3. John Fenn – American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  4. Matthew Glassman, Double Edge Theatre, Ashfield, MA
  5. Sharon Mansur – Dancer, Winona, MN
  6. Nikiko Masumoto – Agrarian Artist, Del Rey, CA
  7. Sarina Otaibi– Minnesota Main Street, Granite Fall, MN
  8. Ashley C. Smith – Fayette Alliance and Black Soil, Lexington, KY
  9. Jesse Vogler – Washington University in St. Louis, MO