Using arts and culture to address rural community needs

Colleton MuseumArt of Community: Rural S.C. is the Arts Commission’s initiative to support new leadership, generate energy, and motivate action to address the unique needs of rural communities in our state. The program empowers new local leaders who offer fresh perspectives and energy with new resources to reimagine their communities through an arts and culture lens and drive action. It received national attention last month for a success story in Walterboro (right), but the work is just getting into gear. And there’s still plenty to do.

South Arts, a consortium of Southern state arts agencies, is inviting arts and cultural leaders, public officials, community leaders, organizational decision-makers, and municipal and economic planners from the Southeast – and beyond –  to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the first Southeastern Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, March 15-16.

Creative placemaking goes “Beyond Big Cities” with a special focus on small and rural communities in the American South. Attendees will dig into the ways arts and culture can be deployed to address the challenges of communities outside urban areas. A stellar lineup of sessions and presenters is to take on themes such as:

  • community wellness,
  • diversity and inclusion,
  • maintaining affordable places,
  • and strategies for areas of consistent poverty.

Chattanooga and its region offer a wide variety of local demonstration projects involving art in unused spaces, water features, historical spaces, sculpture parks and other public art, making it an ideal place to explore successful examples creative placemaking to inspire your work at home.

Who should attend?

  • Artists
  • Arts professionals
  • Local government planners and officials
  • Community developers
  • Anyone interested in building vital communities through arts and culture

Go here for more information. You’ll learn and generate the ideas that could turn your community into the next South Carolina Cultural District by using arts and culture to draw or retain talent that drives tourism and economic development in your town.


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