Rural leaders brainstorm at the 2012 Rural Arts and Culture Convening.
Introducing The Rural Squad Program
Why : If we are to build smarter, more prosperous, more inclusive rural communities, then we need to build and support systems where new leadership emerges and new ideas can flourish.

To cultivate a sense of shared purpose and possibility, rural leaders need to hear themselves and hear one another.

What: We are creating a program for rural leaders called The Rural Squad that connects leaders to each other, helps urban-based institutions engage with rural communities effectively, and offers the country a reliable network of rural problem solvers.

The Rural Assembly will be intentional about placement of Rural Squad members at conferences, meetings, policy briefings. They will carry learnings and connections back to the constituencies they represent.

How: With intention, the Rural Assembly will support a squad of rural leaders working at various levels in rural America. We will cultivate strategic connections across geography, race, class, and programmatic disciplines that strengthen the ability of advocates to make progress at local, regional, and national levels.

We need your help. Contribute to the design of this program by responding to occasional questions in our newsletter.

First up:

"How could a national rural leaders program best support the work you're doing in rural America?"
(Photo by Mary Sketch)
Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition releases three new issue papers for sign-on
The Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC), longterm friend and partner of the Rural Assembly, just released three new issues papers now available for sign-on.

Check out the papers below and use this form to sign on by Friday, April 26 at 5:00 PM PST:

A group of RVCC leaders will be traveling to Washington D.C. May 6-9 to share these issue papers and advocate for our priorities. 
Housing Assistance Council chosen as partner for the National Endowment for the Arts Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), partner and steering committee member of the Rural Assembly, was just selected as the partner to the National Endowment for the Arts for the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). CIRD works "to enhance the quality of life and economic viability of rural America through planning design, and creative placemaking. Congratulations HAC!
Southwest MN Housing Partnership seeking applications for Resident Artist

The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership is seeking proposals to be their next Resident Artist. They are looking for artists "who will work with staff to identify and design projects across departments that integrate the arts into SWMHP organizational practices. Ideal artists will have a community-driven or social practice, an interest in systems / organizational work, and an understanding of and / or connection to rural communities and / or the region SWMHP serves." Rural Assembly friend, Ashley Hanson , co-founder of PlaceBase Productions and current Bush Fellow, is the current resident artist and can be contacted at 952-486-0533 or to answer questions about the Residency.

Proposals due Friday, May 10th!
Pamela Rush can't afford a septic tank, so wastewater flows into her yard in rural Alabama through a process called “straight-piping.” Rush says she believes it has led to health problems for her children. (Photo by Clancy Calkins/Southerly)
Media Beat: Filling a 'Glaring Hole' in Coverage of Ecology, Justice, and Culture in the South

Southerly, a new publication and journalism project, seeks to tell the full story of the complicated relationship Southerners have with their natural resources and environment.
Remember to check out the full "All Things Rural" calendar of events here and submit your events to be featured on the calendar here !