Reflections on the Rural Arts & Culture Summit

It was a Big Event, and a Pleasantly Intimate Experience

We all knew Springboard for the Arts' Rural Arts and Culture Summit (RACS), held June 6-8, was going to be a great event. RACS of previous years set a very high bar: national speakers, breakouts on a wide variety of topics, experiential art projects, art exhibits, all held at the beautiful U of M Morris campus. This year’s event built on that strong foundation and did not disappoint. I heard nothing but positive comments from my fellow attendees.

Now that I have had a few days to reflect, I’d like to share with you what made my experience this year a little different than previous years.

This year I had more appreciation of the camaraderie. I found myself lingering around after the last lunch on Thursday, not quite ready to start the drive back home. I wanted to say goodbye to a few folks and was pulled into a couple of great conversations by others who were in no big rush to leave.

Fellowship and networking over a meal at 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit
swingset 800.jpg

Wednesday night’s outdoor meal at the park was a long and delightful conversation with Bobbie and Karen from Evansville Arts Coalition. A conversation I wouldn’t have the time and opportunity for in my everyday work life. The evening ended on a perfect note. When I was leaving the park and going to my car, I saw Arleta Little and Eleanor Savage, taking full advantage of the park’s swing set. Now, I ask you, where else but the RACS would you have seen two senior staffers of The McKnight Foundation and The Jerome Foundation having a contest of who can swing higher? Camaraderie at its best. They were good sports and let me take a photo.

I had so many conversations, short and long, reconnected with old friends, met new people, and explored new ideas with folks in my region and not in my region. The Summit was an opportunity to be with people who really, truly love the Arts. All of us in one place at one time. It was a chance to stop for a couple of days , lift my head up and see that there are some beautiful souls out there, each doing what they can to make sure the Arts are a part of everyone’s life. Everybody at the Summit “gets it”. We all have a common desire that the Arts are alive and well.

It’s important that we have events like the Summit, so that we feel supported in our work, so that we can connect with others and enjoy the fellowship of the work we do.

Arts Culture Organizations Networking Meeting

So, to the folks I saw at the Summit, whether it was over a long conversation, a wave and thumbs up from across the room, a quick exchange of business cards and the promise of an email, I am so grateful for the opportunity last week to connect with you. Thank you Rural Arts and Culture Summit and everyone who had a part in making it happen.

          Maxine Adams
          LRAC Executive Director

Note: special thanks to the Rural Arts and Culture Summit for the banner photo of a panel discussion at the Summit.  L to R: Hugh Weber, Sarina Otaibi, Representative Erin Murphy, Sheila Smith and Ashley Hanson.