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RUX so far

RUX in Kentucky

The Rural-Urban Exchange (RUX) was founded in Kentucky in 2014 as a partnership between Art of the Rural and Appalshop. Both of these organizations and the Rural Policy Research Institute have stewarded the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange since the beginning. From grassroots backyard conversations, to becoming a model for Rural-Urban Interdependence, RUX has worked to be a sustainable and adaptive organization rooted in growth.

Over the years, more than 200 Kentuckians from 42 counties have been collaborating for Kentucky’s future. After only eight years, RUX has been celebrated by the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, NPR’s 1A, the Atlantic’s CityLab, Huffington Post, Stateline, and NonProfit Quarterly.

In 2018, the Rural-Urban Exchange Handbook was created and captures the history of RUX as well as the Currency of Connection Framework. The Living with Complexity Case Studies shares the impact of the RUX movement on twelve Kentuckians.

RUX in Minnesota

In 2019, Art of the Rural was awarded a grant from the McKnight Foundation to develop a Rural-Urban Exchange in Minnesota. The work set out to leverage the substantial interest in the RUX program voiced by Minnesotans, and work with RUX leadership to design a learning exchange to apply the model to the Minnesota context.

Impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, plans were altered shortly after initiating - moving from an in-person learning process to curating a vibrant digital learning community between the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange Expansion Team and our burgeoning Minnesota Rural-Urban Exchange Steering Committee. Over the course of 2020 and 2021 the KY RUX Expansion Team shared their resources, knowledge and experience and engaged in small Learning Pods to walk through their curriculum and learning tools. In the Fall of 2021 the MN RUX Steering Committee met for the first time in person for a Planning Retreat in Waseca MN. It is here the commitment to pilot the inaugural MN RUX cohort in 2022 was born.

By adapting the RUX Currency of Connection framework to the Upper Midwest context, Art of the Rural hopes to test the model’s success in fostering listening, interdependence, and project development among uncommon collaborators.


As we collectively work to build bridges between leaders and communities across this region, we are grateful for the support of the McKnight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.

Art of the Rural

Art of the Rural is a national non-profit organization that resources artists and culture bearers across the country to build the field, change the narrative, and bridge divides.

Art of the Rural operates a field office in Kentucky and a central office in Winona, Minnesota, a town located within Dakota homelands on the banks of the Mississippi River.

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RUX so far