Governors’ Guide to Rural Prosperity through the Arts

Art News by Antonia Schachter | March 14, 2019

I’m writing today to share my excitement about a new release from the National Governors Association (NGA), created in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and NASAA. 

Pam Breaux
President and CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

 Rural Prosperity through the Arts & Creative Sector: A Rural Action Guide for Governors and States

 This landmark report draws on a growing body of research that shows how creative economic development helps rural communities to thrive. It offers suggestions that governors can follow to boost economic opportunities, retain young people and preserve a great quality of life in America’s rural communities—all through the arts.

 Designed for governors and their top advisors, the guide offers a five-point policy framework and 27 action steps illustrated by almost 100 examples. Many of the examples foreground the importance of state arts agencies! The action guide also includes policy recommendations for governors that can amplify your work, such as:

  • Integrate the creative sector into state strategy and planning efforts around economic development, housing and community development.
  • Invest in cultural and creative institutions in rural areas and small communities.
  • Support creative placemaking initiatives in rural areas with technical assistance, convenings and collaborations.

To learn more, explore the project website and the press release. NASAA offers a suite of rural prosperity resources, including a brand-new infographic on rural equity in state arts agency grant making.

 Through this partnership with the NGA and the National Endowment for the Arts, NASAA is shining a light on the importance of state arts agencies, with the goal of creating new opportunities for you at the state level. Seize the moment!

  • Follow up with your governor’s office: The NGA is distributing the guides to all governors, but a note from you will help reinforce the message.
  • Toot your own horn: Use the guide’s release as an occasion to promote stories about your own activities and their impact on rural communities. Cite the guide as a high-level endorsement for the importance of your rural programs.
  • Go social: Generate buzz by featuring the guide in your newsletter and social media channels. Join the conversation on-line at #ruralarts.
  • Make new friends: NASAA is circulating the guide to state rural development councils, state Main Street offices and the state branch offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency. Follow up and offer to share more information about your state arts agency’s work in rural areas.
  • Make the case: Incorporate the research and rationale from this guide into your advocacy efforts. NASAA is sending the guide to state arts advocacy groups to jump-start this process.

For help brainstorming more ways to use the guide to develop resources and relationships in your state, Kelly Barsdate from the NASAA team is at your disposal. Hard copies of the report are extremely limited, so please make the most of the digital version.