Featured Speakers & Presenters

Featured Artist

Wednesday and Thursday, June 7 & 8, various times

A Steady and Irresistible Wind

Bethany Lacktorin


“I’ve read the integration recommendations and while I
know its a rule we can’t rewrite DNA strands I also believe
all creatures attach to those strands generational
instructions, urges, warnings and tendencies that are
passed down to their children post birth. I was thinking
about this and whether this time I should comb, curl or cut.
I stepped outside, looking for a barber. The building faced
north against a steady and irresistible wind approaching
gale force. I held my hair out of my eyes and started



“A Steady and Irresistible Wind,” is a site-specific, place-
based performance installation created by artist Bethany
Lacktorin, which will begin outdoors on UMM Campus and
continue at the WCROC Horticulture Display Garden. A
follow up to Lacktorin’s performance, My Ocean (2016),
StIrWind is a diaspora, a displacement, transition and
growth expressed as words, wind, song and sound.
Bethany is joined by spoken word artist, Thomas LeBlanc Sr.
Tatanka Ohitika (Strong Buffalo), poet and songwriter,
Ben Weaver, members of the Twin Cities Sacred Harp Singers,
The Prairie Fire Ladies Choir, local musicians, UMM students
and special assistance from the MN Kite Society and
Minnesota Center for Book Arts.



Opening Plenary

Wednesday, June 7, 9:00 – 10:15am

Scanning the Field

Lauren Carlson, Poet and Media Producer

Mary Swander, Executive Director of AgArts and Poet Laureate of Iowa

Jeremy Staab, Program Manager at First Peoples Fund

Cecilia Cornejo, Filmmaker and Teacher

Andrew Nordin, Curator and Visual Artist

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.


Plenary Panel

Thursday, June 8, 8:30 – 9:15am

A Reciprocal Relationship: Rural and Arts Advocacy

Sheila Smith, Executive Director at Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

Sarina Otaibi, Granite Falls City Council and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

Representative Erin Murphy, Minnesota House of Representatives, 64A

Hugh Weber, Institute of Possibility

Moderator: Ashley Hanson, Public Transformation


Rural. Arts. Advocacy. Each of these words can be unpacked in a myriad of different ways, which of course, makes it challenging to have a unified voice – one common message that we are calling out or one common goal that we wish to achieve.

Since the election, the perceived and the real urban and rural divide has gotten a lot of attention. At the core of this, rural voices made themselves heard and, perhaps for the first time, urban ears are being forced to listen. What is the role or responsibility of the artist or the arts in each of these conversations?

During this discussion we will hear from four leaders who are advocating in various contexts on the important role of the arts in community and/or the importance of rural voices being heard. Moderated by Ashley Hanson, who recently drove across the country to learn more about the experiences of artists in rural contexts, this conversation will help our network get clearer on our individual and collective goals in making sure that both the arts and rural voices are “at the table” in local and national policy, community planning and funding.


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.