Moving America Forward

How the Arts Are Saving Small Towns From Extinction, Finding Redemption Through Friendship and More

October 28, 2016
How the Arts Are Saving Small Towns From Extinction, Finding Redemption Through Friendship and More
With a population of just over 2,000 residents, Marfa, Texas, has become a popular art tourist destination. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Take a break from the regular news cycle and check out these NationSwell must-reads, which uncover solutions that are moving America forward.


Can the Arts Help Save Rural America? Stateline
In nearly half of America’s rural counties, more people have moved out than in during every single decade since 1950: Young people, seeking a vibrant culture and job opportunities, have fled to big cities in droves. To avoid becoming ghost towns, small communities across the country have begun investing in music festivals, remodeling old opera houses and opening art galleries to bring young families back to their hometowns.

The White Flight of Derek Black, Washington Post
His father created Stormfront, the infamous racist web forum; his godfather was once Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. By high school, Derek Black was primed to lead America’s white nationalist movement. Yet after enrolling at New College of Florida, a Jewish classmate (who’d read Black’s neo-Nazi posts) invited him to a Shabbat dinner. As this story of redemption shows, there’s a way to defeat right-wing, racist extremism: not to attack its hate, but to overcome it with conversation and understanding.

California Restaurants Launch Nation’s First Transgender Jobs Program, NPR
Transgender individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the nation’s workers. To change those figures, Michaela Mendelsohn, a transgender businesswoman, hired 150 trans workers at her six El Pollo Loco restaurants, and she recently persuaded the 22,000-member California Restaurant Association to join the effort to overcome discrimination in the workplace.