Rural Cultural Wealth Lab Digital Exchange Webinar January 23

  • January 22, 2018

The RUPRI Rural Cultural Wealth Lab is one of four inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs named last year, following a national competition. This national effort unites the knowledge and lived experiences of a diverse array of scholars and practitioners to explore the intersection of rural arts and culture, entrepreneurship and innovation, and the role of cultural wealth in the broader Comprehensive Rural Wealth Framework, pioneered by RUPRI to create a more robust conceptual framework for understanding the diverse assets within rural communities.

Learn more about the Rural Cultural Wealth Lab during this informational webinar on January 23 from 12:00-1:30 PM EST, featuring Sunil Iyengar, Director of the NEA Office of Research and Analysis, RUPRI President Chuck Fluharty, alongside Lab panelists Kiley Arroyo, Sam Cordes, Matthew Fluharty, Tom Johnson, and Emily Wornell.


Principal Investigator
Charles W. Fluharty is the founder, President, and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI). A Clinical Professor in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a graduate of Yale Divinity School, he was also a German Marshall Fund Transatlantic Fellow from 2007 to 2011. Chuck is the author of numerous policy studies and journal articles, has presented dozens of Congressional testimonies and briefings, and is also a frequent speaker before national and international audiences, having delivered major public policy speeches in over a dozen nations. He has also provided senior policy consultation to most federal departments, state and local governments, associations of government, planning and development organizations, and many foundations.
Kiley Arroyo is an independent research, management strategy, and evaluation consultant based in the Bay Area. She has been involved with a diverse range of social-sector organizations located in the US and internationally for the past two decades, including the Kresge, Rockefeller, and MacArthur Foundations, Enterprise Community Partners, the Urban Institute, UNESCO, Demos, McKinsey & Company, Harvard Uni-versity, multiple arts and culture organizations, among others. Her work resides at the intersection of public policy, philanthropy, and the arts & culture sectors, with a par-ticular emphasis on place-based and systems change initiatives. In 2007, she established the Cultural Strategies, envisioned as a vehicle for interdisciplinary research, comprehensive strategy, and cross-sector partnerships.  Kiley serves as the Co-Chair of the RUPRI/NEA Lab.
Dr. Thomas G. Johnson is the Frank Miller Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Professor Emeritus in the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Tom is director of RUPRI’s Analytic and Academic programs and the Community Policy Analysis Center and founding member RUPRI’s Community Policy Analysis Network and of the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Consortium. Tom’s recent research areas include the fiscal and economic impact analysis, local government finance, renewable energy, rural entrepreneurship, broadband, land use, rural transportation and rural wealth and resilience.  Tom is the 2007 recipient of the USDA Undersecretary’s Group Honor Award for Excellence. Tom has authored over 250 articles, papers, and book chapters and has co-authored 5 books.
Dr. Sam Cordes joined Purdue University in 2003 and served as the Associate Vice Provost for Engagement; Co-Director, Center for Regional Development; Assistant Director and Program Leader, Cooperative Extension; Professor of Agricultural Economics. Dr. Cordes served in numerous faculty roles at Penn State University, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), where he founded and directed the Center for Rural Community Revitalization and the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center. Dr. Cordes has written or co-authored more than 200 publications, and has held various professional leadership roles. Dr. Cordes received the Distinguished Researcher Award from NRHA; the RUPRI Founders Award; the first recipient of WSU’s Graduate Alumni Achievement Award; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from SDSU. 
Dr. Matthew Fluharty is the founder and Executive Director of Art of the Rural, a member of M12 Studio, and he serves on the Board of Directors for Common Field. His poetry and essays have been published in the US and abroad and are present in the field-establishing publication A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier as well as in To Make a Public: Temporary Art Review 2011-2016. Matthew’s collaborations with M12 Studio have been recently featured at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Iowa State Fair, and the Autry Museum of the American West. Matthew holds PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and was most recently a Research Fellow at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. 
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Sunil and his team have partnered with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes to Health. For a decade, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poetry, and his book reviews have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The American Scholar, The New Criterion, Essays in Criticism, and Contemporary Poetry Review. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Emily J. Wornell is a research assistant professor in the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University working with the Center for Business and Economic Research and RUPRI. Her areas of specialization are inequality and population change in rural communities, and her research has explored household livelihood strategies; the role of informal work in economic survival for US households; economic incorporation of immigrants in new and rural communities; and social and work networks between immigrants and nonimmigrants in nonmetropolitan communities. Her research has been supported by grants from the Rural Sociological Society, the International Social Science Council, and the Pennsylvania State University College of Agriculture. Emily received a dual-title PhD in rural sociology and demography from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University, and a BA from George Fox University. 

Learn more about the Rural Cultural Wealth Lab by visiting:



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