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Since 2013, Springboard for the Arts' has hosted more than 1500 rural arts practitioners from across the country to share learning and build solidarity around artist-led rural community development. 

Rural Futures Summit 2023

In June of 2023, Springboard hosted its first Rural Futures Summit in Fergus Falls, which brought together over 100 artists, creative organizers, culture bearers, and thought leaders for 3 days of connection and exchange, making art and music together, and building solidarity around the challenges and opportunities of rural creative leadership. 

This new event is a companion to Springboard’s Rural Regenerator Fellowship. By hosting the Rural Futures Summit, we seek to celebrate the work of Springboard’s Rural Regenerator Fellows, while expanding an intentional peer network of learning and ideas to support the creative ecosystem of the rural Upper Midwest, fostering the solidarity and relationship building that is needed for broader social change. Each of our 20 Rural Regenerator Fellows were asked to invite 4 of their peers from the Upper Midwest to attend the event, as a way to support the networks and efforts they want to support and make more visible. 

We are thrilled to share the stories and lessons that came out of the Summit through our creative documentation team:

Springboard Staff

Rural Program Director
Rural Programs

Learn more about rural events, fellowships, and offerings from Springboard for the Arts.

Learn more

Photography by Ne-Dah-Ness Greene and Rayshele Kamke


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Video Reflection by Brittani Smith

Dreaming of Rural Futures by Nhatt Nichols

Rural Arts & Culture Summit 2013-2019

From 2013 through 2019, The Rural Arts and Culture Summit gathered rural artists, arts organizations and community and economic development leaders from the upper Midwest and beyond. Occurring every two years, the Summit brought together more than 350 attendees to share ideas and opportunities around rural-based creative and community practice. The conversations were critical, collaborative, and hopeful.

In partnership with the Forum of Regional Arts Council, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Small Towns, the goal of the Rural Arts and Culture Summit was to build capacity for long-term partnerships between artists and rural communities by facilitating cross-sector conversations and professional development workshops for artists, board members/staff/volunteers of rural arts organizations, and rural development stakeholders.

If you are interested in participating in conversations about the future of the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, please email

Media Highlights

Springboard for the Arts’ Rural Programs, including the Rural Futures Summit, are made possible by Builder’s Initiative, National Endowment for the Arts, Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and Lake Region Arts Council.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.