top of page
Approaching The Small Rural Artist Residency // Dipen Patel


Written by Dipen Patel

Existing structure in Volland, KS

"Approaching The Small Rural Artist Residency"


What do you get when you throw a few artists, architects, clients, architecture students, professors, department heads, and the dean into a discussion?


We like to call it a hoedown, better defined as a social gathering at which lively folk dancing takes place. Except this hoedown didn’t involve folk dances, rather it took on a new form. A form that took a very in-depth look into rural artist residencies. It was a time where we could compare notes with what was being done in Volland, KS vs Rushville, NE.


In the end it was a resounding success and in a way, reassured everybody that was present that what we were all doing had a real impact. The purpose of this blog is two-fold. First to document what happened on this day, and the knowledge that was gained from the hoedown. The second is trying to understand the different approach that Mel & Patty have taken in setting up a rural artist residency.

Abstract: All firms have their own design process and approach to architecture. Yet many times architects can often land on the similar ideas for buildings. Take Patty Reece & Mel Zeigler, both astoundingly successful folks that are aiming high to create something that is still a relatively new typology: the rural residency. These two met for the first time in March 2018 and shared the vision and creation of a rural artist residency program. Even though there are many similarities, the approach the 2 have taken is actually quite different. The Volland Institute is focused on community and believes the artists should live and work in the town that it is founded on. The Sand Hills Institute is focused on community as well but believes that the artist needs to work in the place where the local townspeople live.

Like our design build program at K-State, The University of Lincoln-Nebraska has a similar program called FACT (Fabrication and Construction Team). These graduate students along with their professor Jeffery Day drove down from Lincoln NE to join us for the hoedown.


These students also were accompanied by their client, Mel Zeigler, an American Artist who is known for his Public Art, Social Practice Art, Sculpture, & Community Art. Others in attendance included Eldo Principals, Josh Shelton, Hesse McGraw, & our professor David Dowell. Along with Kansas States Design Make Studio, Tim De Noble (College Dean) as well as Matthew Knox (Department Head) were in attendance. This whole event was hosted by Patty Reece at the Volland Store, where some locals were also invited to give their input.

Through the many discussions that were exchanged it was clear that both programs that were being started had many similarities. At the end of it all Patty agreed that it was very “encouraging to see someone else do the same thing, very reassuring”.

Touring Volland with University of Nebraska Lincoln Architecture Students

Patty Reece Introduces Volland at the HoeDown event

bottom of page