Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Art of the Rural is back!

Art of the Rural re-launches today after a short hiatus while it changed platforms.  Here's an excerpt from the re-launch message:
After those formative blog-years, our goal is to match the concepts, practices and metaphors we’ve discussed online with events, publications, and consortium-building on the ground. As we discuss in our mission statement, we aim to merge digital and analog activities — and to learn from the points of confluence (and also dissonance) that will emerge through this process. To learn more of our plans, please check out our programs and the work of our Project Stewards
We are also grateful to the many forms of support and encouragement we’ve received over the last few years from the Center for Rural Strategies and The National Rural Assembly. In many ways, the need for a more versatile web presence emerged through our co-convening of the Rural Arts and Culture Working Group within the Rural Assembly and through the lessons learned in initiating theAtlas of Rural Arts and Culture project. We seek to create a space where rural artists and cultural workers can meet with their colleagues across the country and across various disciplines, and we believe that this movement can contribute to the local and national discussion on the future of rural America. 
We believe that lasting change, and deeper, more productive narratives, are created through collaboration across fields.
And this personal statement is from Art of the Rural's maestro, Matthew Fluharty:
For much of my life, I had experienced that psychological bind that characterizes the rural diaspora: that quality of feeling deeply, inextricably linked to my land and culture, yet, by virtue of seeking education and employment elsewhere, also feeling equally disconnected and powerless to help the place and people I care the most about. The difficult process of standing before those folks and reflecting on my grandmother’s life clarified an imperative, one first expressed across the faces of those in the room, and later in their own words as they shared their stories: I needed, in whatever form possible, to shape an element of my own work after my grandmother’s sense of determination, responsibility, and improvisation. 
A few hours later, I sat in the woods on our farm with my brother. In that space, I shared the basic idea of Art of the Rural, a concept I had been thinking about for months but had lacked the courage (or some might have said the foolishness) to execute: what if there was a website that connects the dots between the various forms of art and cultural work taking place in rural America? My dissertation focused on rural arts in the age of modernism, and I was hungry, and at times desperate, to understand how that lineage of creative work was connected to contemporary practice in rural communities. About a week later, the Art of the Rural blog humbly began.
As always, the visuals over at AOTR are gorgeous, and it features so much original content.  Well done Matthew and team! 

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