About Patrick Overton

   Patrick Overton serves as director of the Front Porch Institute in Astoria, Oregon. The Institute, created in 1996 while he was a tenured faculty member at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, is dedicated to creating resources for community arts and community cultural development. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Columbia College as Associate Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies (1985-1999), he served as the founding Director of the Columbia College Center for Community & Cultural Studies which focused on developing resources, curricula, and training experiences to enhance rural and small community cultural development. His work in this area is now incorporated in his role as Director of the Front Porch Institute. He is the recipient of the 1997 Missouri Arts Award, recognizing his "creative and outstanding service that has made an important and lasting contribution to the arts in Missouri." In addition, in 1997, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a special resolution honoring his work in Missouri.

   Obtaining a Ph.D. in Communication in 1987, Overton studied as a Gregory Fellow and a College of Arts and Science Graduate Fellow at the University of Missouri, His area of concentration was organizational communications with collateral work in community development. His ongoing research in organizational communication focuses on 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit, community-based organizations, exploring ways to develop and strengthen the vital contribution they make to the community-making process.

   Patrick Overton is a frequent keynote speaker, workshop leader, and nationally respected community arts and community cultural developer. His work through the Front Porch Institute focuses on non-profit, community-based organizational development, facility assessment, strategic planning, cultural assessment, and cultural planning. While he works with organizations of all types and sizes, he continues to address the special needs of smaller organizations in rural and small communities. His workshop topics include nonprofit organizational development, paid and non-paid staff development (in particular, managing stress and burnout), grant writing, board development, cultural diversity, arts education and exploration of the relationship between the arts, healing and spirituality.

   A teacher, scholar, poet, playwright, author, lyricist, speaker, and visual artist, Overton has devoted his entire adult life to exploring human communication, designing and building organizational systems that enhance the development of the human community, and creating innovative resource networks to help people in rural and small communities nurture the invisible culture of Rural Genius.

   Overton is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), having served as a bi-vocational parish minister to rural and small community churches for eighteen years. A native Californian raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he lived 31 years in the Midwest. Overton currently lives in Astoria, Oregon, where he resides with his wife, Lindi.




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