2016 GIA Conference
Saint Paul, MN   October 16–19
A Confluence of People, Cultures, and Ideas

Art and Hope in Rural America

Tuesday, October 18, 10:00am – 11:30am

Kellogg II

Organized and moderated by Dudley Cocke, Board Member, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Presented by Matthew Fluharty, Executive Director, Art of the Rural; Alexander Gibson, Executive Director, Appalshop,Inc.; and April Stone-Dahl (Ojibwe), Black Ash Basket Maker, WOODSPIRIT.

This session will examine the leadership roles young artists and cultural workers are playing in the national movement for rural self-development. Eighty-five percent of the poorest counties in the United States are rural, and rural communities lead the nation in per capita rates of drug addiction, suicide, and incarceration. Contrary to popular perceptions of homogeneity, contemporary rural life is diverse by every cultural measure, including the number of languages spoken. Presenters will use data and personal narrative from Native sovereign nations, Minnesota, and the central Appalachian coalfields to frame a critical discussion about opportunities for art and cultural heritage to create the conditions for environmentally sustainable rural economic development and social healing.