Viva Cuba, Murals for Everyone!

Viva Cuba! Missouri, that is. In 1984, a group of people aimed to beautify Cuba to attract new industries and jobs. By 1987, they were the first Adopt-A-Highway site in the state. 1991, they purchased a lot and transformed a previously ugly space into Viva Cuba Garden. Everyone came together to make it happen: donations…

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Lessons from an Idea Friendly Gift Shop in a Small Town

One of the chapters in my upcoming workbook  is about using crafters as your next set of entrepreneurs. Stephanie from Canada shared her crafter entrepreneurial story with us!  You don’t have to go it alone.  Fourteen years ago Stephanie and her sister moved to a small town that had lots of summer tourists but no…

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Successful economic development involves the arts

Crack Art by Sara McKnight

The top conclusion of the survey was that rural people were twice as likely to say they were optimistic about their communities’ future as negative. Times they are a’changin. The old ways are no longer working, and new ways are being explored. People are realizing a community is made up of many people, and they…

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Folklife in the South Conference – The stories matter

I attended the Folklife in the South Conference in Lake Guntersville, Alabama in June 2023.  It was a gathering of community leaders, folklorists, traditional artists, educators, documentarians, and other cultural workers. We came together to hear the stories of work in the field, explore different avenues of folklife in the South and to meet and…

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A visit to a tile factory in Portugal

Deb in tile factory in portugal

Federico, a friend from Lisbon, picked me up from the hotel. Our intention for the day was to visit small towns in the Portugal countryside. Lisbon is a major metropolis and driving is just like driving in Chicago. It helps to know where you are going. As we drove the buildings got smaller, and the…

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Notes from Placemaking Conference for Small and Rural Communities

Pascagoula mural

I attended Placemaking in Small and Rural Communities online conference hosted by USDA and the University of Kentucky. It was all day, and I was able to attend most of the sessions. Enjoy this article that shares the tidbits I gathered. Why attend something like this? I work in rural communities and placemaking is vital…

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Jackson County and Grayson KY Stories and Volunteers

“Change can be activated in a society by way of story.”  from the book Spirit Run I just returned from Jackson County, Kentucky and the small town of Grayson, Kentucky. There’s a natural beauty in those mountains and winding roads. The people were kind, helpful and want to see their towns thrive. They shared stories…

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Small town ideas for Gowrie, Iowa

I attended the Chamber Dinner in Gowrie, Iowa and talked about small town ideas they could use. It was my pleasure to spend a couple of days there. This article talks about small town ideas for the community and by the community. Got empty buildings? Every small town has empty buildings and empty lots. Gowrie…

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Steal all the ideas

As you travel, locally or further, take a look at what other communities are doing to create ways for people to remember them (placemaking.) In Gulfport where I live, the Port Authority lights up the port with the colors of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is kind of a big deal down here. Where could you…

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