Small Towns News

New Art Grant Celebrates a Lively Rural Culture in America

Last month we learned the Center for Rural Affairs received one of 55 grants awarded by ArtPlace America this year. The grant supports creation of a public artwork in four neighboring towns in northeast Nebraska. A visiting artist will be on hand to help guide the projects. And in the autumn of 2015, we’ll celebrate the completed works with a grand tour!

Huerto Air Vista Grand Opening

This new garden in Columbus, Nebraska, opened in May 2014. It began by volunteers going door to door in the neighborhood, asking if people were interested in a garden. They were, and over the winter, they learned about composting, seeds, and other skills. See the fun and their plans to grow the garden and the community.

Putting Art in the Driver’s Seat

It is summertime in small-town America. People line main street for parades and gather in the park for antique tractor shows. Events like these make a town come alive.

We spend a lot of time at the Center for Rural Affairs discussing business development. Art and cultural development is often thought of second, after business and infrastructure are attended to. 

That is the wrong approach. 

Cultural events – the things we do together – give us a sense of identity and shape who we are as a community. 

Rural Electric Co-ops Can Renew Community Spirit

I tore a page out of my rural electric co-op newsletter last fall. It is pinned it to my wall. I read it every day. It says, “Electric co-ops were constructed with lines, poles, and the foolhardy notion that we all prosper by helping each other.”

It’s so true. The co-operative spirit that brought electric service to rural America represents the community-driven values of small towns – values the Center works to uphold today.

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