Featured Speakers & Presenters

Featured Artist

Wednesday and Thursday, June 7 & 8, various times

A Steady and Irresistible Wind

Bethany Lacktorin


A Steady and Irresistible Wind is a site specific, place-based performance installation created by artist Bethany Lacktorin, which will take place during the Summit on and nearby the University of Minnesota Morris campus.

A follow up to Lacktorin’s performance, My Ocean (2016), this piece is an ongoing exploration of diaspora where displacement, transition and growth as it occurs culturally, agriculturally, mentally and socially are expressed in story, music movement and sound.





Opening Plenary

Wednesday, June 7, 9:00 – 10:30am

Scanning the Field

Lauren Carlson, Poet

Mary Swander, AgArts

Jeremy Staab, First Peoples Fund

Haley Honeman, Theater artist


The Summit’s opening plenary will feature a vibrant smattering of several short, image-filled presentations from arts and culture leaders who are making an impact in the small towns that they care about with theater, poetry and film, to business skills training on reservations, and long term cultural planning.




Plenary Panel

Wednesday, June 7, 1:30 – 2:30pm

Creating inclusive rural places through arts and culture

Carlton Turner, Executive Director at Alternate Roots

Meredith Martin Moats, Folklorist and founder of McElroy House

Anton Treuer, Author and Professor of Ojibwe, Bemidji State University

Michael Strand, Ceramicist and Head of Visual Arts at North Dakota State University

Moderator: Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts









For years, the arts have been a tool to tell an authentic story about rural America, to engage new voices in communities and their futures, and to cultivate more inclusive places. And now they are needed more than ever.

In the wake of the 2016 election, the media increasingly portrays rural America as homogeneous, behind the times, bigoted and naive. However, the truth is more complex. Across the country, New Americans are reinvigorating rural economies that were once dwindling rapidly; and women, people of color and Native Americans are business owners and nonprofit leaders making crucial contributions on Main Street. Where do artists and culture bearers fit into this picture?

The featured plenary session at the 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit will bring together four cultural leaders: Anton Treuer, an Ojibwe scholar from Bemidji, Minnesota; Michael Strand, a potter and activist from Fargo, North Dakota; Meredith Martin Moats, a folklorist and founder of the McElroy House in Dardanelle, Arkansas; and Carlton Turner, founder of Alternate Roots from Utica, Mississippi. From pottery that encourages conversations among elected officials, to a regional online platform for arts and activism tools, these artists and community leaders will share their perspectives of the current social climate in the rural communities they know and love, their hopes for the future, and tangible ideas of how artists, arts organizations can work together to bridge conversations across differences.


Keynote Speaker

Thursday, June 8, 9:30am

New models for rural creative economies

Dr. Jessica Metcalfe: Artist and Founder of Beyond Buckskin

Hear from Dr. Jessica Metcalfe about rural entrepreneurship and success with invigorating local economies. This work happens at the intersection of local economic systems, involves individual artists and creative producers, and includes cultural preservation as well as forward-looking growth.

Founded by Dr. Metcalfe, Beyond Buckskin empowers Native American artists and designers, advancing the quality of Native American fashion through education while providing an in depth podium for societal participation. Inspired by relevant historical and contemporary Native American clothing design and art, Beyond Buckskin promotes cultural appreciation, social relationships, authenticity and creativity.

Dr. Metcalfe is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Ph.D. in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. She is the main author of the website, Beyond Buckskin, which focuses on all topics related to Native American fashion, and is the owner of the Beyond Buckskin Boutique, which promotes and sells Native-made couture, streetwear, jewelry, and accessories. Her current work focuses on Native American art and adornment, with special projects focusing on contemporary Native artists and fashion designers. Sponsored by donors to the Barbara Greenwald Memorial Arts Fund and the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.