Rural Arts & Culture Summit (Springboard for the Arts)

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I am writing to invite you to the 2019 Rural Arts & Culture Summit, which will be held on October 3-5, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The Rural Arts & Culture Summit is a biennial, practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based community development, which will bring 350 leaders from around the country to the Reif Center for the Performing Arts. Find more here:

We are excited this year to have the participation of, and to be able to highlight rural Native artists and practitioners as featured speakers at the Summit. As the new IlluminNative nonprofit network points out, “lack of representation and information about Native peoples has perpetuated damaging myths and stereotypes,” and that Native peoples rank at or near the bottom of most socio-economic indicators. Previous presenters at the Rural Arts & Culture Summit have included Penobscot basketweaver Theresa Secord, Beyond Buckskin founder Jessica Metcalfe, and Ojibwe author Anton Treuer, and we are excited to be able to continue this practice in 2019.

Highlighted artists this year include Red Lake-based hip hop musician Thomas X, fashion designer Delina White of I am Anishinaabe, Native American Music Awards 2018 Artist of the Year Annie Humphrey, artist, activist, and Arts and Cultural Program Coordinator of the American Community Indian Housing Organization Moira Villiard, and Joseph Claunch of the Zuni Pueblo Youth Enrichment Project.

Additionally, Native Artists United and Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance will lead conversations about cooperative development models for Native artists, and “beyond borders,” an Indigenous art invitational curated by MAC Gallery Director Kayla Aubid and Colleena Bibeau of the ISD #318 American Indian Education will be on display at the MacRostie Art Center in downtown Grand Rapids. These are practitioners who are doing important work through the arts in community development, Native visibility, and healing, and we are honored to have them in this national gathering.
Through the support of The Bush Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, we are able to offer scholarship support specifically for Native American and Indigenous artists and leaders. Registration scholarships ($300 value) and travel support (up to $500 to help cover travel and/or lodging expenses) will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis as space and funds allow. Notification will be sent within one week of application submissions.
We are also committed to making the Rural Arts & Culture Summit accessible to parents and families. This year we are offering a special Kid’s Track for parents who are unable to leave their kids at home or find childcare, The Kid’s Track will be available during the Summit’s six plenary and breakout sessions, and will be led by a team of experienced Minnesota-based teaching artists and volunteers. Parents will otherwise be responsible for their children during all other times during the Summit (breaks, meals, evening events). The cost per child is $30. The deadline to register is August 30th.
We would love to have your participation in the Summit through coverage, attendance, sharing with your network, or other follow up. You can respond directly here, or be in touch with Hannah Holman, Rural Arts & Culture Summit Project Manager, at
About the Rural Arts & Culture Summit
The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biennial, practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based community development by providing a space for learning, relationship building and celebration of the role of art and creativity in building strong, healthy and resilient rural communities. Since its launch in Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 2011, and three gatherings in Morris, Minnesota hosted by the Center for Small Towns, the RAC Summit has convened more than 1,300 people from across the country, establishing a rich network of exchange among some of the most creative individuals who are driving their rural communities forward.

About Springboard for the Arts
Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Our work is about building stronger communities, neighborhoods, and economies, and we believe that artists are an important leverage point in that work. Springboard’s mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life.

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