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

Richard Saxton

Denver, Colorado


Richard Saxton is a visual artist and educator currently living in Denver, Colorado. Saxton’s work is conceived through an interdisciplinary cultural framework, and can be contextualized through social and site-based art practice. Saxton’s work has been described as contemporary vernacular, non-heroic, and an art infused with rural experience without subscribing to any one genre or culture.  Saxton is the founder of M12, an interdisciplinary art collective that focuses their artistic investigations primarily in rural areas, developing ideas through dialogical and collaborative approaches. M12 creates and supports new modes of art-making in often remote, under-represented communities, and focuses on experiential practices that explore community identity and the value of often under-represented rural communities and their surrounding landscapes. Saxton is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado in Boulder.


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