Public Transformation Highlights Impact of Rural-Based Artists

Public Transformation is a cross-country documentary art project highlighting the work rural-based artists and arts organizations are doing to make their communities a more vibrant, healthy, connected place to live. Ashley Hanson took on a mobile artist residency of sorts to document and share stories of the work being done in rural communities with a national audience and to further connect rural practitioners across the country to each other.

About the Public Transformation Exhibition

The 2016 presidential election revealed major rifts in our country – most notably, a profound disconnect between urban and rural life. Theater artist Ashley Hanson, whose large-scale public performances put rural life at their center, was curious how other artists working in rural areas were contemplating the geographic (and psychological) divides of the Trump era. In January 2017, she bought a little yellow school bus and set off on a high-paced fact-finding mission, calling it Public Transformation, visiting 20 states, 24 communities, 42 organizations, and 127 individuals over 6200 miles.

The Public Transformation artists – Ashley Hanson, Randi Carlson, Ellie Moore, Hannah Holman, Mary Rothlisberger & Nik Nerbern – will present a month-long exhibit at The Outpost collaborative space in Winona, MN from October 20 – November 17, 2017. This multi-media exhibition will present a snapshot of lives, work, stories, themes, artifacts and questions the artists discovered while visiting 24 rural communities (all with populations under 10,000) across the country and will facilitate discussion about the successes and challenges of making art in rural America. The exhibition will feature images and objects from the Public Transformation journey and work from its mobile artists-in-residence. Opening weekend will include workshops, panels, and conversations led by rural-based practitioners across the region.

Public Transformation is supported by Springboard for the Arts, Art of the Rural, and individuals across the country. This Outpost exhibition is made possible through the support of the McKnight Foundation.