Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

Matthew Fluharty

St. Louis, Missouri

Matthew Fluharty Pic

Matthew Fluharty is the Founder of The Art of the Rural, the leading resource for information and commentary on the state of contemporary rural arts and culture, from the traditional to the avant-garde. Matthew is currently working to organize The Rural Arts Working Group, an effort supported by The Center for Rural Strategies and other national and regional foundations.

 His poetry has been published widely in the US and Europe. He is currently a Visiting Writer and a PhD Candidate at Washington University in Saint Louis, where he is writing on “rural modernism” in British, Irish, and American literature. He is the son of a fifth-generation farming family from Southeastern Ohio.  


Re-Thinking The Rural Arts

Day 2 / Apr, 13 @ 10:30 am
Lower Level : Room C

Rural America is undergoing a period of dramatic cultural and demographic change. Its people are poised to take agency over their own narrative, as new media is allowing for the open and decentralized sharing of stories – from next door to across the continent. In concert with this, interest in sustainable and local food systems has leant a visibility, and a cultural and economic force, to a rural landscape often relegated to distorting pastoral clichés.

These dynamic possibilities offer a moving and multi-layered metaphor for the kinds of work to be created in rural America, as artists and community members are working across disciplines to re-think and re-imagine rural America – and to make connections to their partners in urban and international locales.

This panel presents the work of four dynamic artists and community leaders who are offering a new vision for the role of the arts in rural America. By connecting across disciplines and across geographic regions, these practitioners are examples of how serious aesthetic work can also function as an engine for social change and community development.

Polly Atwell: writer, critic, and author of the novel Wild Girls (Scribner, 2013); Matthew Fluharty (moderator): poet, editor, and founder of The Art of the Rural; Brian Frink: artist, professor, and founder of Rural America Contemporary Artists; Rachel Reynolds Luster: musician, folklorist, and founder of HomeCorps; Richard Saxton: artist, professor, and founder of the M12 art collective