Programming and Funding Public Art in Rural Places

Friday, June 15, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Rural communities are increasing hotbeds of creative and innovative public art, but such work comes with a set of unique challenges and advantages. This discussin will explore how small cities and towns can maximize the good and mitigate the bad when it comes to rural public art and placemaking.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore creative ways to engage rural community members in public art processes.
  2. Learn methods to do quality and meaningful projects on small budgets.
  3. Tap into your local talent to engage and help emerging local artists interesting in breaking into public art.



Savannah Barrett
Director of Programs
Art of the Rural
Louisville, Kentucky

Savannah Barrett is the Director of Programs for Art of the Rural, where she co-founded the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange and helps to lead the Next Generation program in collaboration with RUPRI. She is a member of the board of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Robert Gard Foundation, and The Art of Community: Rural S.C. initiative, and served on the Innovation Team for EmcArts’ Community Innovation Lab program. She has widely published essays and interviews and presented her work at conferences internationally. She holds a Masters of Arts Management from the University of Oregon, and is an alumnus of the Muhammad Ali Scholars for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville and from the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Savannah was raised on a seventh-generation homeplace in Grayson Springs, Kentucky, where she co-founded a local arts agency in high school.

Susan DuPlessis
Community Arts Development Director
The South Carolina Arts Commission
Columbia, South Carolina

Susan DuPlessis has spent most of her life in her native South Carolina, and it is this place that defines her.  With her family's long history in the state dating to the early 1700s, her sense of connection stems from her people who were mountain folk, share croppers and mill workers as well as professors, entrepreneurs and software engineers.    She began her career as an individual, community-based artist with a focus on underserved communities. For 25+ years, she had had myriad opportunities to use arts and culture as a fundamental basis for engagement and connection in nonprofit and corporate settings, locally, regionally and nationally.  Today, as Director of Community Arts Development at the South Carolina Arts Commission, she engages with artists, arts organizations, educators, grassroots community leaders and culture bearers across the state.  She is particularly proud to have co-directed the coastal Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor partnership program for the agency as well as to have developed and now lead the new initiative called The Art of Community: Rural S.C.  in a six-county 'Promise Zone' region. 

Meg Thompson Stanton
Laramie Public Art Coalition
Laramie, Wyoming

Meg Thompson Stanton is an artist, artisan, and arts administrator working in Laramie, WY.  As coordinator, Stanton is the first staff person hired by the newly formed Laramie Public Art Coalition (LPAC).  LPAC is an independent, non-profit coalition whose mission is to enhance the unique visual and cultural vibrancy of Laramie and Albany County, in a manner that encourages participation and engagement from all our citizens and visitors.  As a practicing artist she co-founded the socially engaged arts organization, Wyoming Art Party and in 2013 won the call to design bike racks for downtown Laramie.  In 2015 she worked for the public art consulting team, Renee Piechocki and Jennifer McGregor, developing a public art plan for Laramie.  Prior to working for LPAC, she was a participating artist in the Laramie Mural Project.

Andrea R. Hanley
Membership + Public Programs Manager
Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Andrea R. Hanley has been an arts advocate for more than 25 years. Her career has been guided and dedicated to the work of contemporary American Indian artists and the American Indian fine art field. Hanley has had an impressive career working as a curator, gallerist, writer, fundraiser, lecturer, and volunteer. She is currently the Membership and Program Manager for the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She spent over nine years at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., serving as both Special Assistant to the Director, and Exhibition Developer/Project Manager. Upon returning to Arizona, Hanley worked as fine arts coordinator/curator for the city of Tempe, Executive Director for ATATL, Inc., an organization dedicated to Native American art advocacy, Artrain, USA, a national arts organization, as its Sponsorship and Major Gifts Officer, and the founding manager of the Berlin Gallery at the Heard Museum. She has over three decades of professional experience working in the field of exhibition development and arts management, primarily focusing on American Indian art. Ms. Hanley is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.