Matthew Fluharty is a writer, curator, and visual artist whose work meditates on the connections and divergences between land, cultures, and communities. He currently lives in Winona, Minnesota, a town located within Dakota homelands along the Mississippi River.
Born into a seventh-generation farming family of Irish descent in Appalachia, Matthew’s upbringing instilled a belief that everyday, multigenerational knowledge can teach us about where have been, where we are, and where we might be going. Those lessons led him to take vows with the Zen Garland Order, a community that is a part of what’s known as the Socially Engaged Buddhist movement.
Matthew is the Founder and Executive Director of Art of the Rural, a member of M12 Studio, and faculty on the Rural Environments Field School. His work flows between the fields of art, design, humanities, policy, and community development. He has previously served on the boards of Common Field, the Wormfarm Institute, and Visit Winona, as well as on the Steering Committee for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.
His poetry and essays have been published widely, and his work with his colleagues in the American Bottom region of the Mississippi River has been featured in Art in America. Matthew is the organizing curator for High Visibility: On Location in Rural America and Indian Country, a longterm collaboration with the Plains Art Museum. He recently received a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for this ongoing work.
Matthew holds a PhD in Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, a Masters in Literature from Boston College, a Masters in Creative Writing from Poet’s House/Lancaster University, United Kingdom, and a Bachelors in Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Journalism from Beloit College. He is the co-editor of anthology Breaking the Skin: 21st Century Irish Poetry and he has contributed to the Éire-Ireland journal.
Matthew has previously held a Research Fellow position with the Sam Fox School for Design and Visual Arts and the Department of American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and he was a founding member of the Rural Cultural Wealth Lab within the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Iowa.