Brian David Downs is the subject of the first segment of the Postcards program. Downs is a contemporary artist with national clients living in the small town of Spicer, MN (pop: 1,180). Downs has a BFA Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University and has made his mark designing album covers and posters for bands such as Daniel Johnston and Tapes 'n Tapes. According to Downs, "I make a lot of art here in Spicer. It's a bit quieter out here. I have about a million ideas a second in my brain so having just the quietness just allows me to sit in my head a bit and sift through ideas."
The second segment features Ken Amundson a "luthier" (maker of stringed instruments) who has made a name for himself as a fine instrument builder and now has returned to set up shop in his home town of Benson. Amundson shares stories about the famous musicians he has assisted over the years, but believes that it's the average person who walks through his door who makes his job meaningful. "There's an awful lot of Benson that was here when I was 14 in 1959 that I still love very, very much, " Amundson says. "It's the closeness of the community and how everybody knows you and respects you," he continues. "I can say with a real good feeling in my heart, I have come home."
The third story of the program is about filmmaker Sam Hathaway of Montevideo. Hathaway has a dream of making a film that he has written and he has created a film promo to showcase his vision. A portion of that promo will be shown in this segment of Postcards. "The promo was all filmed in southwestern Minnesota using local artists to create props, local letterpress, A to Z Letterpress in Montevideo, a local wood artisan, and so it was just a great collaborative effort with the community," Hathaway says.
The episode wraps up with a short story about the Rural Arts and Culture Summit hosted by the Center for Small Towns on the University of Minnesota Campus in June 2013. The Summit brought together hundreds of artists and art administrators from throughout the Upper Midwest to share stories about ways that the arts are serving to revitalize small towns.