Creative Economy in Rural Places

Friday, June 14, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

The growth of the creative sector, and its role in economic development, is a hot topic in rural and suburban communities. The unique challenges of these communities and their governments require different strategies to center creativity and encourage growth.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore how to grow the creative sector in difficult conditions and over time.
  2. Learn about overcoming obstacles within local government, the local private sector, and among other nonprofit organizations.
  3. Discuss how to create local champions for arts and culture, grow a stable workforce, and encourage economic growth.


Adam Perry
Vice President for Strategy and Programs
Arts Midwest
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Adam Perry provides strategic leadership for Arts Midwest’s programming, grant making, arts leadership, and community engagement initiatives.

Since joining Arts Midwest in 2006, Adam has led many major cultural programs including Carvanserai, The Big Read Egypt/U.S., and NEA Big Read Films. He also produced the documentary film Muse of Fire for the NEA’s special initiative Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.

Prior to joining Arts Midwest, he served as director of operations for the Live National/Broadway Across America’s North Central Region as well as various roles including programming and producing manager at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Jordan Knepper
Executive Director
Piqua Arts Council
Piqua , Ohio

Executive Director of the Piqua Arts Council, Jordan Knepper is a life-long learner in the arts and now arts administration. He specializes in taking macro-centric topics and applying them to a rural environment to create a richer quality of life for the citizens of Piqua, OH.

Mr. Knepper has traveled across the country attending various trainings and speaking about the arts and arts administration to groups both big and small. His unique ability to meld the creative and industrial sectors has allowed him to see sustained growth with the Piqua Arts Council and attract the attention of regional, state, multi-state and national organizations to spotlight the vibrant arts culture in the community he serves.

Kate Marquez
Executive Director
Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
Tucson, Arizona

A Tucson, Arizona native, Kate has served as the Director of the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) since 2006. Kate has worked to transform the organization from a defunded rural arts council, into a regional multi-disciplinary arts and cultural alliance known for innovation in the arts, grounded in a sustainable model of growth. Since taking the leadership role over 13 years ago, SAACA has since grown to become one of the largest multi-disciplinary presenting arts organizations in the region, dedicated to the creation, preservation and advancement of the Arts. Each year SAACA provides hundreds of opportunities for artists in the community to present and exhibit their artwork in the community.  Through collaborative Arts and Business partnerships in Healthcare, Economic Development & Tourism, Public Art, Marketing, Education, Banking, and non-arts sector collaborative programming, SAACA's programming serves one of the most diverse sectors of arts and creative sectors in the community, including community arts and music festivals, performing arts, cultural education, programs for Veterans and Seniors, as well as culinary arts, design and more recently, the maker movement.  Kate is the 2017 winner of the Inside Tucson Business Nonprofit CEO of the year, and 2-time nominee for the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards.

Michele Anderson
Rural Program Director
Springboard for the Arts
Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Michele Anderson is the Rural Program Director for Springboard for the Arts, a community and economic development organizations for artists based in Minnesota. In 2011, she launched Springboard’s office in Fergus Falls, which has become a hub of thought and action about arts-based community development and creative placemaking in rural settings. Michele has her B.A. in Music from Lewis and Clark College, and her M.A. in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College, where she was awarded the inaugural Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability in 2014 for her creative nonfiction essay about Springboard’s work in mobilizing artists to foster community interaction about the former Fergus Falls State Hospital. In 2015, Michele was selected by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for their Catalytic Leader Award. Prior to her work at Springboard, Michele lived in Portland, Oregon for 11 years where she worked at the Oregon Symphony, and a community music school, Ethos Music Center.