Next Generation: The Future of the Arts & Culture Placemaking in Rural America engages artists, organizations, and communities across the public and private sector to advance collaboration, share innovative strategies and research, and elevate emerging leaders in the field. With support from The University of Iowa and the National Endowment for the Arts, this initiative is designed and facilitated by Art of the Rural and the Rural Policy Research Institute in concert with a range of partners. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful group as we celebrate the many faces of American life and create thriving places beyond our metropolitan regions.

Next Generation operates through three interlinked activities: Regional Networks that spark exchange, collaboration, and dissemination of best practices; a Digital Learning Commons that shares this knowledge and contributes further perspectives from across the rural arts and culture field; and a Rural Creative Placemaking Summit that will merge the activities of the Networks and Commons and expand the rural placemaking network.


Art of the Rural is a collaborative organization with a mission to help build the field of the rural arts, create new narratives on rural culture and community, and contribute to the emerging rural arts and culture movement. They work online and on the ground through interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships to advocate for engaged conversation and policy that transcends imposed boundaries and articulates the shared reality of rural and urban America.

Photo 1 courtesy of The 100 to 115 Rural Arts and Culture Map has been developed by M12 Creative Director Richard Saxton to highlight the rich offerings of the High Plains and Rocky Mountain West regions of the United States. This map is intended to bridge both geographic and cultural distance and offer a platform for connection between artists, institutes, cultural sites, and tourists in the expanse of the American landscape that is roughly bracketed by the 100 and 115 latitudinal meridians.

Photo 2 courtesy of the incredible mural artist Chip Thomas, aka Jetsonorama.