Announcing The Year of the Rural Arts

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Earlier this month Art of the Rural celebrated its fourth birthday. The most powerful lesson we’ve learned in these first four years is that a shared imperative can bring folks together across fields and geographies and create a culture of learning and collaboration. Today, with that guiding principle in mind, we are excited to announce a project that seeks to facilitate such connections: The Year of the Rural Arts.

The Year of the Rural Arts is a biennial program of events, conversations, and online features with the goals of helping to build an inclusive and engaged rural arts and humanities network while also expanding the artistic, cultural, and historical narrative of rural America and the rural-urban continuum. This inaugural Year is a grassroots, improvisational effort designed to build steam over the course of the next twelve months.

While we invite folks to learn more by visiting the Year page, its calendar of events, as well as its interactive map, we also welcome collaboration of all forms. This first Year is a work in progress, one that relies on the feedback of diverse communities and perspectives. What events are missing from the calendar? What projects, issues, or artists, should be present in these online features? Would you or your organization like to become a partner in this work? For any of these questions, and more, please feel free to drop us a line or check in on Facebook or Twitter.

As we set forth into the Year of the Rural Arts, we are grateful for the insights of this project’s Founding Partners who helped workshop this idea throughout the course of the last year: Appalshop, The Association for Cultural Equity, The Center for Rural Strategies, Double Edge Theatre, Feral Arts, Imagining America, M12 art collective, Roadside Theater, Rural Policy Research Institute, Springboard for the Arts, and The Wormfarm Institute. With deep thanks, we recognize support provided by the Center for Rural Strategies and Springboard for the Arts that allowed for the design and implementation of the Year of the Rural Arts.

Thanks for reading and contributing to the first four years of Art of the Rural. We hope this conversation can continue online and in person over the course of the next twelve months. Let’s get together and build something in the Year of the Rural Arts.