Red Cloud Creative District

Set amid brick-lined streets, charming homes, historic buildings, and the immense beauty of the prairie, the community of Red Cloud offers a glimpse into a storied American past while forging a progressive vision for the future. Nestled near the rolling hills of the Republican River Valley, this community of 962 is a hub for literary and artistic expression in south central Nebraska.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Willa Cather grew up here and much of her work, including the novels O Pioneers! and My Antonia, takes place here. Cather’s work has left indelible impressions in the minds of her readers and her literary legacy has gifted the community a lasting relevance. The National Willa Cather Center (NWCC) attracts visitors from all 50 states and internationally who are drawn to the Red Cloud community’s connections to Cather’s stories. The NWCC provides almost 20,000 square feet of space that includes a public museum, archive, research center, classroom, bookstore, art gallery, and performing arts center. Housed within the NWCC is the Red Cloud Opera House stage that Cather herself performed on and which still features monthly concerts and theatrical productions. Located throughout the community and in the surrounding countryside are 41 sites connected to Cather’s literary or personal history. Most of these sites, including Cather’s Childhood Home, can still be toured by visitors.

Literary history is only one part of this unique town’s cultural offerings. Founded in 1871 by future Nebraska Governor Silas Garber, the town is named after the great Oglala Sioux Chief Red Cloud. An area southeast of town was once home to the largest settlement of the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee people. The land has always been the area’s greatest asset and agricultural production remains integral to Red Cloud’s identity. The Starke Round Barn is a testament to the region’s agricultural history and the ingenuity of local farmers. Red Cloud’s historic downtown features unique architecture that will take visitors back to the late 1800s. In 2024, construction will be complete on the Hotel Garber which will restore a historic building to its 1903 grandeur.

Red Cloud leaders have centered their economic development strategy around Heritage Tourism Development, championing the community’s historic and cultural assets. Your off-the-beaten path adventure to the Red Cloud Creative District will let you explore a rural lifestyle while also immersing yourself in the arts, culture, history, and creativity! Welcome to Red Cloud: Great Stories Grow Here!!!

Mission Statement

The mission of the Red Cloud Creative District is to encourage artistic and cultural creativity through advocacy, promoting programs and activities, building out infrastructure to increase access and exposure to the arts for diverse groups of people, youth engagement, become a regional hub for arts and culture in rural Nebraska and Kansas, become a destination for practicing artists and tourists, and providing opportunities for diverse expression.

Vision Statement

The Red Cloud Creative District is a diverse and vibrant arts destination that embraces its rural and literary heritage, historic preservation, and drives economic growth.