Granite Falls artist Ashley Hanson has been named a 2019 Bush Fellow by the Bush Foundation. The prestigious fellowship honors innovators with a flexible grant of up to $100,000 to help strengthen and develop leadership skills. Last year, Hanson was selected for the inaugural 2018 Obama Foundation Fellowship.

“I’m really excited to continue to democratize leadership opportunities,” said Hanson. “I really see opportunities through the Bush Fellowship and the Obama Foundation Fellowship as a way to channel more resource and knowledge to rural places.”

The Bush Foundation writes of Hanson:

“Ashley Hanson has a bold vision: To use the arts to build healthy, thriving rural areas throughout Minnesota and beyond. Born into generational rural poverty, she learned to imagine a different reality through theater in high school. She went on to study and refine this work through college. She is the founder of both a theater company, PlaceBase Productions, and an artist-led organization, Department of Public Transformation, that use creative strategies to increase community connection, participation and pride in rural locations. To empower more people to use the arts to address pressing issues of economic development, civic participation and changing demographics in rural communities, she will seek advanced leadership training and take time to articulate a model for teaching and scaling her work.”