Rebuilding the Front Porch of America is the most important book on community arts in rural communities since Robert Gard’s Grassroots Theater. Packed with emotional power, deep insight, and poetic resonance, it will change the way you think about the arts.”

Dr. Scott E. Walters, founder of The Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education (CRADLE)

“I discovered Patrick Overton’s Rebuilding the Front Porch of America four years ago as a graduate student. This book was something of an answer to me, one of those works you find at just the right moment to light the candle in your mind and alight some previously unexamined corner of your heart. This book is about an invitation, challenging us to connect with one another to build deep relationships towards change, and then, to do something together. This book stokes the flame of what we already know but often fail to notice – that our own love and joy and wonder is what we need to renew our places, our communities and ourselves.”

Savannah Barrett, Program Director, Art of the Rural

“Overton urges us to understand that investing in the building of meaningful relationships to take collective action on behalf of culture is more important than ever. Indeed, we are currently drenched in an administrative culture that often values economic impact over quality personal impact; uses data as an absolute indicator instead of one of many indicators; and often fails to value the nexus between individual personal – and, yes, spiritual – growth and the growth of high-functioning organization. Overton has been talking about these things for a long time.”

Dr. Anthony Radich, Executive Director, Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF)

“This is a challenging and thought provoking collection of essays about the state of our communities and ways we can all get involved and help heal and reconnect people through the arts. Patrick Overton has many years of experiencing what he teaches and has witnessed incredible transformations in small communities and in individual lives. He is not only an excellent writer but a very impressive poet as well.”

Anna Goodwin, M.S., NCC, Author, Psychotherapist

“Patrick Overton’s willingness to use his stories to enable others to view a concept with a vivid depth of understanding, is inspiring. As I read and re-read his essay, The Deep Voice: The Relationship Between Art, Healing & Spirituality. I feel connected to it. I believe it. It is punk. It is in your face and unapologetic. THIS VOICE CANNOT BE SILENCED.”

Dan Aid, Actor, Musician, Activist

“Overton’s book eloquently describes how the arts can improve the lives of all of our citizens in rural as well as urban areas. The arts tell our stories. The arts graphically depict our ideas and our ideals and make them visible for all to see and share. The arts allow all of us to move with grace and dignity within those places where we spend our daily lives. And all for this helps strengthen our local communities…this book provides a strong foundation and points a clear direction…a map all communities can follow to achieve creative and sustainable communities.”

LaMoine MacLaughlin, Co-Director, Northern Lakes Center for the Arts & Director, Rural Arts Management Institute

“I have known Patrick Overton for over 15 years. We met sometime after I read his essay, Grassroots and Mountain Wings: Reflections On Being a Community Arts Administrator. This painfully honest piece should be a primer for anyone working in community arts…If you are passionate about teaching the arts, about sharing your gifts as an artist with other; if you believe that everyone should have the opportunity and the right to express themselves creatively; then you need to acquaint yourself with Patrick’s work. This 2016 reissue of Rebuilding the Front Porch of America will help you do this.”

Homer Jackson, Interdisciplinary Artist & Director, Philadelphia Jazz Project

“This book should be read by every person who longs for a true sense of community, whether you live in the rural countryside or the neighborhoods of New Your City. It speaks to the should like no other book I have ever read. Overton’s writing style is direct – masterfully challenging our notions of art and community, inviting us to rethink our preconceptions, revealing to us how the relationship between arts and community can show us the pathway home to our own front porch, wherever that may be. I wish I had read this book twenty years ago!”

Pat Burness, Retired Executive Director, Clatsop County Women’s Resource Center, Astoria, Oregon

“Rebuilding the Front Porch of America is a must-read for anyone working in the field of community arts development or community arts administration; actually, anyone interested in learning why the arts are so important to individual and community development. It makes a strong case the community arts are more about community than about art. It’s about community participation. It is about understanding art as a process, not just a product. It is about the process of participating, of creating, of doing art. As Overton reminds us all the way through the book, “Art is a verb!”

Beverly Strohmeyer, Retired Executive Director, Missouri Arts Council

“Challenges to the integrity of community described by Patrick Overton twenty years ago have only increased in complexity and intensity. If we are to redirect the collective imagination of a fragmenting society toward greater wholeness, are we willing to rediscover the value quality time spend together on front porches, local stages and galleries – no matter what we call them? New generations will not need to be persuaded to join in tapping into the creative genius found in every community.”

Bill Rose-Heim Regional Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Greater Kansas City

“Patrick Overton has learned…as people find their voices, they are much more likely to become active and engaged in their community. As more people discover themselves and work to develop their own creative skills, the more they will look beyond themselves to the larger community of which they are a part. The reissuing of Rebuilding the Front Porch of America should lead to another burst of interest and concern across the country in both small and larger communities. If this happens, there will be a gain in the amount of depth of citizen involvement, unleashing an entire community’s creativity, changing everyone who is a part of the journey.”

Dr. Lee Cary, Founding President, Community Development Society

“Dr. Patrick Overton understands the passion and persistence needed to fuel community arts organizations, and in Rebuilding the Front Porch of America he lays out a blueprint for successful management. A gorgeous blend of practical advice, vision, and poetry.”

Dr. May Barile, Educator, Author, & Cultural Entrepreneur

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Signed by the Author, Twentieth Anniversary Reissue