WESTAF’s Arts + the Rural West Seminar virtual workshop brings together diverse groups of arts and culture professionals and practitioners to explore the context of and opportunities for “rural arts,” particularly as it is known and experienced in the American West. The style of this convening represents a departure from the academic style of organization and presentation of prior WESTAF cultural policy symposia. Developed as a collaboration between WESTAF’s new Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy and Social Responsibility and Inclusion divisions, the convening builds on WESTAF’s history of organizing cultural policy meetings and reaching rural communities through TourWest, our regional touring program, and research on rural creative economies. It aimed to bring together funding and policy organizations with practitioners to consider future directions for rural arts as a policy priority and practice of the field. This first convening was also designed to elevate and clarify WESTAF’s future work in this area while building a western rural arts network.

The Arts + the Rural West session report features discussion summaries and transcripts of participant report-outs from the virtual convening. WESTAF believes that the ideas and insights that were shared have the potential to inform the advancement of arts and culture in rural communities in the West and Beyond.