Support Rural & Urban Kentuckians Connecting through Culture

Support Rural & Urban Kentuckians Connecting through Culture image




Build a more collaborative and connected Commonwealth

The Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange (RUX) is a creative leadership program designed to develop skills and confidence, grow social capital, and build relationships to bridge divides.
RUX attracts Kentuckians who are interested in getting to know different regions of the state while developing leadership skills. Each year, the steering committee selects a RUX cohort of 75 leaders in the arts, agriculture, community development, health, and business. The cohort is diverse, representing at least 25 counties and varied experiences of age, expertise, sexuality, gender, race, geography and origin, culture, and class.
Upon acceptance, cohort members commit to six community intensive conferences over a two-year period in which they travel to communities across rural and urban Kentucky to build connection across cultural, racial, economic and geographic divides. In each community, hosts design an itinerary that uplifts the hidden treasures in their community. Then RUX integrates workshops, trainings, and facilitation from our Currency of Connection framework to support creative leadership development, build networks, and inspire cross-sector collaborations that are specific to the context of Kentucky in the 21st century.
We understand that the future relies on leaders who value the diverse people, cultures, and regions of Kentucky, build support across these diversities, and leverage resources
collaboratively to achieve statewide prosperity. We aim to amplify a more complete, diverse, and nuanced Kentucky story, and skill more Kentuckians in working across difference.
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. We’ve been featured at the Kennedy Center’s Arts Summit and the National Rural Assembly, and in studies by the National Governors Association and Americans for the Arts. RUX is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and is working with Minnesotans to apply our framework with support from the McKnight Foundation.
RUX was founded in 2014 as a partnership between Art of the Rural and Appalshop, and is guided by a statewide Steering Committee. Learn more at