Art of the Rural:

Ron Ragin singing at Rural Generation 2019; photo: Nik Nerburn

In 2010, I founded Art of the Rural, a decentered, collaborative organization that works to forward knowledge sharing, network gathering, and rural-urban exchange.

Our initiatives are longterm, trust-based efforts that co-create spaces for exchange and impact across the traditional dividing lines of place, practice, and lived experience. This work takes the form of convenings, podcasts, barbeques, exhibitions, public policy, newspapers, dances, case studies, and many other ways of collectively cultivating relationships and knowledge.

Our work begins through honoring lived, everyday experience and respecting diverse cultural histories. We assess our success by the degree to which folks build trust and neighborliness over time -- and we believe that those open, inclusive relationships are the foundation of creative problem solving in rural communities.

We believe the idea of distance - geographic, racial, cultural, and economic – can often define the dimensions and the capacities of our rural regions and Indian Country, and their relationships to their urban areas. In the divisive years since the 2016 elections, this distance has come to symbolize deep disparities in access to information and resources and to challenge a more equitable and inclusive understanding of the inter-relationship of our cultures and communities. We work with folks to co-create platforms for knowledge-sharing, exchange, and collective impact that collapse this distance and amplify the work of organizations across our regions and increase quality of life for its communities.