I started reading the article “The Rise of the Rural Creative Class” by Richard Florida on CITYLAB because, being from the Midwest, I’m sensitive to how rural areas are often overlooked and how much city dwellers get wrong about the people who live there. Good graphs and statistics prove out Florida’s facts about the rise of innovative companies in rural areas that appear to value the arts:
Ultimately, Wojan and company’s analysis find a strong statistical association between the arts, innovation, and economic dynamism in rural areas. And this leads them to conclude that the arts are a direct force in rural innovation, not just an indirect factor that helps to attract and retain talent.
I would suggest these are emerging trends, partially empowered by web connectivity, but fundamentally, it speaks to another stereotype about country folk: the myth that they are narrow minded and closed to new ideas. On the contrary, these are the areas in which creativity seems to rise to the top and, when that happens, the arts can bring everything else, including industry, along with it. And this has something to do with the nature of creativity itself. Where what works is not the same old way of doing things, but what is new, different, exploratory, and therefore, willing to take a chance and to sometimes fail and learn from those mistakes.