About Patrick Overton, Ph.D.
Patrick Overton currently serves as Director of the Front Porch Institute located in Boonville, Missouri. The Institute, created in 1996 while he was an associate professor at Columbia College and served as director of the Columbia College Center for Community & Cultural Studies. He has continued the work of the Front Porch Institute after leaving his teaching position at Columbia College.
He started his work in community cultural development in 1976 as director of Thespian Hall, the oldest theater in continuous use west of the Allegheny Mountains. Owned by the Friends of Historic Boonville, Overton developed the theater and associated programming as a catalyst to create a Community Arts Program in Boonville, Missouri, population 6,500. During this time, he became involved in state, regional, and national arts organizations. He was the founding President of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies (MACAA), serving as its first Executive Director (1984-1989). Serving 37 community arts organizations, MACAA was one of the first statewide organizations of its kind in the United States.
Along with his work as a rural/small community cultural development specialist for over forty years, Overton is an artist in his own right, having had numerous books of prose and poetry published. He is currently serving as the first “Poet-in-Residence” for the Missouri Parks Association’s Poets-in-the-Parks Program, helping them celebrate the upcoming Missouri State Parks Centennial by Celebrating the Essence of Missouri Places.
Overton has a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Missouri where he was a Gregory Fellow. He served as a tenured Associate Professor of Communications & Culture Studies at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri (1987-1999). In addition, he has a Master of Divinity Degree and a Master of Arts in Religion, and is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He has devoted his ministry to serving as a bi-vocational pastor to churches in the rural and small community setting. He currently serves as Pastor of the Arrow Rock Federated Church.
Overton is the recipient of the 1997 Missouri Award in recognition of his contribution to the arts and culture in Missouri. Overton has devoted his entire professional life to fulfilling his commitment to supporting and celebrating the vital contribution the arts make to the economic and cultural development of our nation’s rural and small communities.
Overton is a frequent keynote speaker, workshop leader, and organizational and community cultural development specialist working with nonprofit, community-based organizations, in particular those in rural and small communities.
Patrick and his wife, Lindi, currently live in Boonville, Missouri.