Rural Prosperity Through the Arts & Creative Sector

August 29, 2019 | Economic Development

This action guide, released in 2019, offers research insights and lessons learned from states that are harnessing the power of the arts to drive rural prosperity. Produced by the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices as a collaborative project with the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the guide offers creative policy solutions that draw on home-grown arts and cultural assets to address the urgent problems facing rural America.  While there are many inspiring success stories to celebrate in rural areas, some regions also are contending with stark economic challenges, outmigration, education gaps and infrastructure needs. By leveraging the creative industries, states can deploy proven strategies that help all rural communities to thrive. The guide describes in detail the principles of arts-based rural development, including the following: Creative sector initiatives are most effective when attuned to the particular creative assets and needs of rural communities. Creative sector initiatives work best as part of a cohesive economic development plan in rural areas. Creative sector initiatives add value when integrated with additional state and local policies and practices such as workforce development, community development and housing. This Rural Action Guide features many successful high-profile examples of rural communities and regions that have become more economically resilient and sustainable through creative sector initiatives.