Springboard for the Arts’ mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the resources they need to make a living and a life.
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Michele Anderson
Springboard for the Arts
(218) 770-3485
February 16, 2015

2015 Rural Arts and Culture Summit Opens Registration and Announces Keynote Speaker

June 2-4 Summit to feature Theresa Secord, founder of the Maine Indian Basketweaver’s Association and winner of Creativity in Rural Life award

Morris, MN -- The 2015 Rural Arts and Culture Summit will take place Tuesday, June 2 through Thursday, June 4, 2015. This year’s theme, “From the Ground Up: Cultivating Creative People and Places” will highlight the important role of art and culture in shaping the rural narrative. The Summit will explore models that support individual artists and their careers, communities that incorporate arts and culture into their development strategies, and cross-sector partnerships that help communities tap into their cultural assets as they address major challenges or opportunities. The Summit is a partnership between the Center for Small Towns, Springboard for the Arts, and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota.
The keynote speaker of the Summit is Theresa Secord, a traditional Penobscot basketweaver, who founded the Maine Indian Basketweaver’s Association (MIBA) in 1993. In 2003, Secord was the first U.S. citizen to win the Women’s World Summit Foundation prize for Creativity in Rural Life, awarded at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Secord’s work focuses on preserving the tradition of her tribe’s basketweaving, an artform which was nearly extinct. Through her efforts, she has led partnerships between her tribe, state and federal forest services, and the University of Maine to preserve the ash forests in their region, while also launching intergenerational programs to pass basketweaving skills down to the next generation, and developing economic strategies to help artists sell and promote their work.
“We are thrilled to bring Theresa Secord to Minnesota,” says Michele Anderson, co-chair of the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, and Rural Program Director of Springboard for the Arts. “At the Summit, we believe that artists are often the best people to bring to the table when a small community is facing a major challenge, but in encouraging those strategies, we also need to explore hard questions, like how does a community cultivate and sustain their local creative talent? Theresa will be an inspiration to anyone interested in these topics.”
Other highlights of the Summit will include:
●Conversation with practitioners and leaders about the role of artists in the rural narrative, facilitated by Dave Peters, the news director of Minnesota Public Radio’s Ground Level Project
●Highlights of national efforts in rural arts and culture with Matthew Fluharty, director of The Art of the Rural and Chuck Fluharty, CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute
●“Stories from the Field,” a staged theatrical reading with PlaceBase Productions based on a series of story swaps held throughout the state prior to the Summit.
●Hands-on art workshops and demonstrations, panels and professional development workshops presented by over 30 practitioners throughout the nation.
●The Edward J. & Helen Jane Morrison Gallery at the University of Minnesota Morris will open its summer exhibition, POP < 5000 at Summit. The gallery is currently seeking submissions from contemporary artists who currently reside in Minnesota communities with populations, less then or equal to 5000 residents. The deadline to submit work is April 1st:
A full schedule of breakout sessions will be announced in early March. Registration for the Summit is now open, with special early bird discounts available until April 22nd. For more information, including the Summit schedule, cost, and sponsorship opportunities, visit
The Rural Arts and Culture Summit was founded in 2011 by Rebecca Peterson at A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Summit is also sponsored by the McKnight Foundation and the Bush Foundation. 
In addition to open registration for the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, Springboard for the Arts is partnering with the Bush Foundation to offer Summit attendees an opportunity to attend bushCONNECT for free. bushCONNECT is a leadership networking event designed to build stronger and more meaningful connections between leaders in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area, and will be held Monday May 4, 2015 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.
What: 2015 Rural Arts and Culture Summit: From the Ground Up: Cultivating Creative People and Places
When: Tuesday June 2 (Welcome Reception), Wednesday June 3 & Thursday June 4, 2015
Where: Center for Small Towns, University of Minnesota, Morris, 600 East 4th Street
Morris, Minnesota 56267
How Much: Early-Bird registration through April 22, both days for $100, single day for $70; regular registration after April 23, both days for $125, single day for $90
More Info:
About the Center for Small Towns
The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point of entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize CST’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. CST’s mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues while creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students. CST is dedicated to creating a bright future for small towns throughout the state. More:
About Springboard for the Arts
Springboard for the Arts is an economic and community development organization for artists and by artists. Our work is about building stronger communities, neighborhoods, and economies, and we believe that artists are an important leverage point in that work. Springboard for the Arts’ mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by connecting artists with the skills, information, and services they need to make a living and a life. Our work is about creating communities and artists that have a reciprocal relationship, where artists are key contributors to community issues and are visible and valued for the impact they create. We do this work by creating simple, practical solutions and systems to support artists. Those programs support our goal to help create a local culture movement. Springboard for the Arts’ offices are based in Fergus Falls, and Lowertown Saint Paul, MN. More:

About The Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota
The Forum of Regional Arts Councils is a consortium of the eleven regional arts councils that serve all Minnesota counties, providing continuous improvement of the councils through implementation of best practices in programming, management and leadership development, and information for Minnesota artists and organizations.

Keynote speaker Theresa Secord, photo by Steve Wewerka.

For other media or image requests, contact Michele Anderson, Springboard for the Arts at (218) 770-3485 or


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