Further Resources for the RED Group Forum


Photograph from the “Essence of Memory and Space” creative placemaking workshop, Imagine Fergus Falls

Art of the Rural is honored to participate in today’s Regional Economic Development Forum and to contribute to the conversation on States of Innovation: Interdependencies.

In an effort to share a range of projects and perspectives at the intersection of these concerns, we offer a few frames for thinking about arts, culture and heritage. Please feel welcome to share this resource with colleagues – and please let us know if there is work we should add to this page:


The creative community tells stories about the future: 

Placebase Productions has been working with local communities and commissioning partners across rural and urban Minnesota to create site-based theater projects that allow a community to tell their own story — and to share it with an audience that often extends from far beyond their home town. They have most recently collaborated with a host of state and regional environmental organizations engaged in work along the Minnesota River and also with Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, and the Imagine Fergus Falls project:

“On the Minnesota River, Padding Theater Offers Entertainment and Adventure” MPR News

“When the Audience Paddles Up to the Play” CNN

Placebase Productions’ short documentary on the Granite Falls: A Meandering River Walk project.


The creative community are connectors:

The vision of Imagine Fergus Falls is “to foster community interaction about historic preservation and economic development in Fergus Falls through innovative arts programing, creative placemaking and community storytelling.” Their partners include Springboard for the Arts, The Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission, and the Otter Tail County Historical Society; their method involves creative placemaking workshops, peer review sessions of proposed artist projects, and work in interviewing and community storytelling.

Springboard for the Arts’ Fergus Falls office

“Minnesota Farm Country’s Newest Crop: The Arts” Star Tribune

“Does Your Communty Know Its Story?” Americans for the Arts ARTSBLOG


The creative community brings their networks to the table

Epicenter is a small organization of artists, designers, and architects located in Green River, Utah (pop. 973). “To accentuate Green River’s rural pride and pioneering spirit, Epicenter provides housing and business resources and promotes the arts. A passionate, multidisciplinary team of young professionals, we engage, collaborate with, and learn from our community.” None of the Epicenter team was raised in rural America.

Epicenter’s projects have positively contributed to nearly every aspect of life in Green River. Their residency programs bring in interns, as well as established artists to collaborate with the community; their blog shares more of these stories.

Epicenter’s works on the ground in Green River, but also brings in collaborators from across the county. Designers from Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and Minneapolis have contributed to local projects and have also helped shaped digital design work emerging from their Green River storefront (including the Art of the Rural logo).


The big picture:

The Rural Arts and Culture Summit, hosted last year by Springboard for the Arts and the Center for Small Towns, University of Minnesota-Morris. The next Summit is slated for summer 2015. Folks can visit their site to also watch extraordinary keynote addresses by John Davis of the Lanesboro Arts Center, artist Michael Strand, and regional development pioneer June Holley.

Rural America Contemporary Art is an online community, digital gallery, and magazine, founded by Brian Frink, art professor at University of Minnesota-Mankato. Their network is national in scope, and many events and projects take place in Minnesota.

“Yearning for the arts can spur small town development” MPR News (RAC Summit)

“Defining Creative Placemaking” National Endowment for the Arts

“Artists shaking up and strengthening communities in rural America” Create Equity blog

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