Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange accepting new applicants

The Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange (RUX) has convened more than 130 Kentuckians from 24 counties. The Kentucky RUX network aligns people working across the arts, agriculture, community health and small business to work together toward the transformation of Kentucky’s economies, communities and sense of self.

The Kentucky RUX network will showcase a new Kentucky community this year, the sixth to participate. The Kentucky RUX network welcomes the communities of Bowling Green and the surrounding region as a host community, and the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU as a regional partner. The Kentucky Folklife Program is housed in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at WKU.

The mission of the Kentucky RUX is to grow relationships across divides to build a more collaborative and connected Commonwealth. Founded in 2014 by Art of the Rural and Appalshop, and supported by the Rural Policy Research Institute and several Kentucky businesses, the Kentucky RUX has collaborated with 52 distinct partners from every corner of the Commonwealth. Our 2016 cohort of 75 participants showcases the Commonwealth’s diversity: more than 75 percent of RUX leaders are under 40, and 25 percent are people of color. Of these, 67 people completed the rigorous program, at a rate of 90 percent.


Kentucky RUX programming is focused on people, places, and partnerships. In each weekend- long Community Intensive, participants enjoy a local experience of the host community, explore our common identity and culture, and contribute to place-based strategies to address our shared social and economic future. These exchange labs and their resulting collaborations are central to achieving the RUX vision: a future in which Kentuckians value each other, create common ground, and understand our interdependence.

Members from across the state will gather in Bowling Green June 8-10, in Knott County Aug. 3-5, and in Covington Oct. 12-14 for the Kentucky RUX program’s fifth year. Past host communities include Harlan County (2016-17), Lexington (2016-17), Louisville (2014-15), Paducah (2015-16) and Whitesburg (2014-15).

Applications are available and are due by March 23. To learn more and apply, visit

  • About Appalshop: Appalshop is a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia producing original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books. Their education and training programs support communities’ efforts to solve their own problems in a just and equitable way. Each year, Appalshop productions and services reach several million people nationally and internationally.
  • About Art of the Rural: Art of the Rural is a collaborative organization with a mission to help build the field of the rural arts and shape new narratives on rural culture and community. We work online and on the ground through interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships to advance engaged collaboration and policy that transcends imposed boundaries and articulates the shared reality of rural and urban America.
  • Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange Steering Committee Members: Alexia Ault – Higher Ground at Southeast Community and Technical College (Harlan), Savannah Barrett – Art of the Rural (Louisville), Ivy Brashear – MACED (Berea), Izzy Broomfield – Mountain Tech Media (Corbin), Nick Covault – Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (Louisville), Jim Guthrie – Hub + Weber Architects (Covington), Mark Kidd – Handbarrow (Whitesburg), Maria Lewis – Western Kentucky University Libraries, Cheyenne Mize – STRIVE (Louisville), Sarah Schmitt – Kentucky Oral History Commission (Frankfort), Gerry Seavo James – The Explore Kentucky Initiative (Frankfort), Ada Smith – Appalshop (Whitesburg), Ashley Smith – The Fayette Alliance (Lexington), Richard Young – Community Development Consultant (Lexington).

Contact: Savannah Barrett, (270) 589-7165 or