Innovation at Work: Art can have a big impact on small communities

Jennifer Drinkwater believes in the power of art to improve communities. As an assistant professor of art and visual culture, and an artist herself, Drinkwater is often involved in community art projects. While beautification is one benefit of these projects, community and social development is often just as important. That's why Drinkwater was invited to be on the Shrink Smart team, an Iowa State research team that helps develop strategies and share examples of how communities can still thrive even as they lose population. The project is helping rural Iowa towns invest in ways that keep the quality of life high in communities that are shrinking. For more information on the Shrink Smart initiative, visit