The Grocery

Artistic inquiries & agricultural communities: social engagement in rural America

  • Type Cultural,
  • Location Rushville, Nebraska
  • Area 4,000 s.f. (phase 1)
  • Status In progress
  • Date 2018
  • Collaborators


Founded by artist Mel Ziegler, the Sandhills Institute is a catalyst for the creation of civically-engaged integrated art in and around the agricultural community of Rushville, Nebraska. The Institute forges strong bonds between the community of local ranchers and farmers and leading artists from around the world for the purpose of developing experimental programs grounded in collaborative research and creative expression. The goal of these programs is to strengthen the economic, environmental, and cultural fabric of this unique area.

Actual & FACT are working with the Sandhills Institute to convert a mid-century era grocery store to support temporary exhibitions, public meetings, lectures, casual gathering and other events where the citizens of Rushville and surrounding rural communities can experience the programmatic vision of the Sandhills Institute. The Grocery includes a large exhibition space, a kitchen / café, small office, and a secondary exhibition space that doubles as a work area for visiting artists. Referencing the expedient constructions of the local ranching community, FACT proposes building a tower to provide an iconic identity for the low-slung Grocery, and to house 2 visiting artists.

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“This project speaks to the many physical scales of rural America from the iconic image of the storefront to its endless horizon yet what resonates most is its mission to create a social space that can provide common ground for an artistic community.” —J. Frano Violich, FAIA

North elevation: Adjacent to the Grocery is a public open space and garden to be developed by landscape designer Kayla Meyer, a Sandhills Institute Fellow, with help from FACT local Rushville students.

Site Plan with First Floor Plan

2019 P/A Award jury comment:
“This project’s drawings are simple and clean, like the building itself. The use of plain forms and materials gives it a rough, minimalist feel.” —Paul Andersen, AIA

Project Awards

2019 Progressive Architecture Award, Citation

2019 AIA Central States Region Merit Award-Unbuilt


Sheridan County Journal Star, “Graduate Students Plan to Transform Rushville Grocery Store into Gallery/Cultural Center” by Lauren Brant, January 31, 2018

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