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Research Road Trip Overview

The 2016 presidential election brought to light major divides in our country - including a profound disconnect between urban and rural areas. It revealed that we are not talking to each other openly enough, that we don’t understand each other deeply enough, and that many assumptions are being made. As an artist who works in both rural and urban areas, I started questioning what my responsibility is in all of this. How can I do my work better? How can it dig deeper to better connect individuals and communities across these great divides? I decided to do what I know best: ask questions, listen deeply to the answers, and to share what I learn in a way that helps us all connect, and move forward, together.

So, I bought a bus, a little yellow school bus converted into a living space, named Gus!

In January 2016, Gus, my dog Bodie, and I embarked on a six-week cross country road-trip having conversations, making art, and documenting the incredible work rural-based artists, cultural leaders, and arts organizations are doing to make their communities a more vibrant, healthy, connected place to live. In collaboration with three Mobile Artists-in-Residence, we documented the process with video, audio, photos, written reflections, letters, and art objects.

We left from San Francisco on January 4, 2017, visiting artists living in communities with population under 10,000 from coast-to-coast, participating in the Women's March on Washington on January 21, heading back through Minnesota, and ending in Colorado on February 6th. The stories collected on this journey were shared at The Rural Arts & Culture Summit on June 6-8, 2017 in Morris, MN, and at an initial gallery exhibition at The Outpost collaborative space in Winona, MN in October / November 2017. We continue to share these stories (and incorporate new ones) across the country through artist talks, gallery exhibitions, conference presentations, and good ol' fashioned conversations.

You can support the next phase of the Department of Public Transformation's Research Road Trips by contributing to the Indiegogo campaign!

In addition to the project website and emails, we will also post updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter - we hope you follow along!
Facebook Group   /   Instagram: @publictransformation   /   Twitter: @publictransform   /   #publictransformation


2017 Itinerary

Mobile Artists-in-Residence with Ashley and Bodie: Randi Carlson, Hannah K. Holman, Ellie Moore

Mobile Artists-in-Residence with Ashley and Bodie: Randi Carlson, Hannah K. Holman, Ellie Moore

January 4 - Del Rey, CA (pop. 1,639)
 -   Interview with Nikiko Masumoto, Masumoto Family Farm

January 5 - Slab City near Niland, CA (pop. 1,006)
 -   Interview with Tray at East Jesus

January 6 - Ajo, AZ (pop. 3,705)
 -   Interview with Stuart & Emily Siegel at Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center
 -   Interview with local photographer Tom Kiefer and muralists Kat Anderson and Wolf

January 7-8 - Phoenix / Tempe
 -   Interview with Gabriela Munoz from Arizona Commission for the Arts (AZ ArtWorker Program) at the "Push Comes to Shove: Women in Power" exhibit at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
 -   Performance of “GrownUp Navajo” & interview with Jaclyn Roessel from Heard Museum - American Indian Art & History
 -   Interview with Michael Rohd, Center for Performance and Civic Practice

January 9 - Show Low, AZ (pop. 10,730)
 -   Interview with theater artist / writer Lisa Jayne

January 10 - Zuni, NM (pop. 6,367) & Ramah, NM (pop. 407)
 -   Tour of The Ancient Ways Art Trail and interview with Zuni Visitor & Art Center Director, Tom Kennedy and artist Narren Bowannie
 -   Visit to the Old School Art Gallery and El Morro Area Arts Council in Ramah

January 11 -  Santa Ana Pueblo, NM (pop. 479)
 -   Interview with local painter and creative entrepreneur Warren Montoya of Resilience and Resonate Art

January 12 - Santa Fe-area
 -   Interview with Joseph Kunkel from Sustainable Native Communities and Thomas Tenorio - potter from the Santa Domingo Pueblo
 -   Workshop & Potluck with Artist Residency Program at the Santa Fe Art Institute

January 13 - Albany, TX (pop. 2,032)
 -   Interview with Patrick Kelly and Kenna Hogan at The Old Jail Art Center Contemporary Art Museum

January 14 - Edom, TX (pop. 374)
 -   Interview with artists Zeke & Marty
 -   Interview with Potters Doug and Beth Brown
 -   Interview with Jeff Gottesman, East Texas Rural Arts Council & The Old Firehouse

January 15 - Fayettville, TX (pop. 262)
 -   Interview with Jeanne Shilling at ARTS for Rural Texas

January 16 - Arnaudville, LA (pop. 1,059)
 -   Interview with George Marks at NUNU Arts & Culture Collective

January 17 - Summit, Mississippi (pop. 1,687)
 -   Interview with Calvin Phelps at Pike School of Art
 -   Interview on Radio Show: Community Focus with Fern Crossley and Visit to Jubilee Performing Arts Center

January 18 - Newbern, AL (pop. 184)
 -   Interview with Xavier Vendrell at Rural Studio

January 19 - Denmark, SC (pop. 3,426)
 -   Interview with Susan DuPlessis, Dr. Yvette McDaniels, and Ashley Jordan from South Carolina Arts Commission Initiative "The Art of Community: Rural S.C." 

January 20 - Lake City, SC (pop. 6,724)
 -   Interview with Staff and Board of ArtFields

January 21 - Washington, D.C.
 -   Women’s March on Washington

January 22 - Floyd, VA (pop. 432)
 -   Interview with Casey Worley and Emily Gruver from Floyd Community Theater Group
 -   Interview with Dylan Locke at The Floyd Country Store & Sunday Bluegrass Music Jam

January 23 - Whitesburg, KY (pop. 2,057)
 -   Interview with Ben Fink and Ada Smith at Appalshop

January 24 - Cumberland, KY (pop. 2,172) & Harlan, KY (pop. 1,693)
 -   Interview with Geoff Marietta at Pine Mountain Settlement School
 -   Interview with The Higher Ground Theater Project Company Members

January 25 - Louisville, KY
 -   Interview with Savannah Barrett from The Art of The Rural and Kentucky Rural Urban Exchange

January 26 - Murphysboro, IL (pop. 7,486)
 -   Interview with Rachel Ensor, Murphysboro School of Art & the Oak Street Arts Group

January 27-29 - In Minnesota to reconnect with partners!
 -   Meeting with Matthew Fluharty from Art of the Rural in Winona, MN
 -   Meeting with Laura Zabel and Carl Atiya Swanson from Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, MN

January 30 - Saint Croix Falls, WI (pop. 2,094)
 -   Interview with Rachel Kuhnle and the staff of Festival Theatre

January 31 - Granite Falls, MN (pop. 2,806)
 -   Presentation on Public Transformation and conversation with local artists at the K.K. Berge Building

February 1 - Sioux Falls, SD & Rapid City, SD
 -   Meeting with Hugh Weber from OTA, The Institute of Possibility and The Potluck Society in Sioux Falls, SD
 -   Interview and tour of Racing Magpie Art Gallery and Artist Space with Peter Strong and Mary Bordeaux
 -   Presentation on Public Transformation and conversation with local artists at Racing Magpie
 -   Dinner with staff from Springboard for the Arts, Bush Foundation, First People's Fund and Racing Magpie

February 2 - Pine Ridge, SD
 -   Interview with Ashley Pourier (Curator) and Audrey Jacobs (Museum Educator) at the Red Cloud Indian School & Heritage Center 

February 3 - Alliance, NE
 -   Interview with Kyren Conley from the Carnegie Arts Center

February 4 - Last Chance, CO & Byers, CO
 -   Visit to the M12 Sculpture in Last Chance, CO
 -   Interview with Richard Saxton of M12 Collective

February 5 - Joes, CO
 -   Interview with artists / community organizers Kirsten Stoltz and Maureen Harty and author Greg Hill

February 6 - Boulder, CO
 -   End of Trip!