“What we have found is that it’s really difficult to hate someone you’ve had deep, meaningful, transformative experiences with—and whose community you’ve really come to value because you’ve felt welcome and appreciated there.” –Savannah Barrett, Director of Programs at Art of the Rural and Co-founder of the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange
The Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange is featured in The Wall Street Journal. We’re excited to share our work with the world and to contribute positive stories about Kentucky and rural America. We’re grateful that The Art Of The Rural, Appalshop, and the RUPRI Rural Policy Research Institute, and the #KYRUX2017 Steering Committee, host partners, and network support this work every day.
“In 2014, Ms. Barrett and her friend started the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange to bring rural and urban people together for immersive experiences three weekends a year. To date, 160 people from 34 Kentucky counties have participated. People of all ages apply to the program, which is free, and about half are accepted, based on the mix of experiences and interests they bring to the group. The itinerary is carefully curated to deepen participants’ understanding of Kentucky’s history, culture and identity, while also equipping them to solve specific community problems.
But it’s essential to make people comfortable, too, Ms. Barrett has learned. That’s when they let down their guard. “We start and end every weekend with a meal,” she says. The program reflects the identity of the different Kentucky towns in which it takes place and typically includes a hike, a cultural performance and a visit to a swimming hole. “What we have found is that it’s really difficult to hate someone you’ve had deep, meaningful, transformative experiences with—and whose community you’ve really come to value because you’ve felt welcome and appreciated there.”
Kentucky RUX was also featured in US News and World Report, a Louisville Public Media interview, the Kentucky New Era, and the Bowling Green Amplifier.
Read the Wall Street Journal Article: America, Meet America: Getting Past our Toxic Partisanship
Listen to the WFPL/Louisville Public Media Interview: Louisville, Not Kentucky: Dissecting the State’s Urban-Rural Divide
Read the Bowling Green Amplifier article: WKU’s Kentucky Folklife Program to host the 2017 Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange cohort in Bowling Green