Rural America has a robust cultural history that has enriched the nation and its people. Rural America is also beset with social and economic challenges.
Population migration and persistent poverty are contributing to a widening urban-rural divide in many states. By using the creative sector – specifically, arts and cultural assets – governors have a viable approach for strengthening economic opportunities and vibrancy into rural communities.
Arts and culture have long been part of urban rejuvenation efforts. Now, an expanding body of research and practice showcases positive economic
and quality-of-life outcomes associated with the rural creative sector.
This Rural Action Guide describes in detail the principles of arts-based rural development, including the following:
- Creative sector initiatives are most effective when attuned to the particular creative assets and needs of rural communities.
- Creative sector initiatives work best as part of a cohesive economic development plan in rural areas.
- Creative sector initiatives add value when integrated with additional state and local policies and practices such as workforce development, community development and housing.
This Rural Action Guide features many successful high-profile examples of rural communities and regions that have become more economically
resilient and sustainable through creative sector initiatives.
The examples offer process-oriented steps for consideration by governors and their policy advisors when applying the principles within their states’
policy framework. When implemented, these steps can contribute to positive changes in employment, wages and quality of place in rural areas.
This guide goes beyond simply advocating replication, which would be difficult because of the unique circumstances of individual communities
benefiting from place-based initiatives that foster the creative economy. It also shares process steps, examples and lessons learned from rural successes and the research and field work that have built on