Front porch chairs at the Hindman Settlement School.
Here at Art of the Rural, we cultivate what we call an open cycle — an attention to how digital material and on-the-ground relationships can work together to tell the evolving elements of a story, a people, and a place. Our residencies across the country aim to build collaborative relationships with organizations and the communities that sustain them.
During these residencies we have a chance to immerse ourselves in the work of our partner organization and to get a sense of the context unique to their part of the world. We value how a patchwork of voices come together to create the groundswell of energy across a region’s creative and cultural landscape. We enter these collaborations ready to listen, to foster reciprocal exchange and mutuality, but also ready to talk with middle school students at a barbecue, help a rancher fix an irrigation pump, or join a few dozen new friends in dancing all night to soul music. We take great joy from learning about the larger patchwork of a community.
Art of the Rural Program Director Savannah Barrett in residency with Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky
We join our partner organization’s community for a short period of time, usually ranging from a few days up to a week. While each residency is collaboratively designed to address specific goals and exchanges, each Art of the Rural residency works from a set of shared imperatives:
- Engage with the local community and get to know the cultural environment
- Serve as a mirror: respond, make connections, and offer an informed, outside perspective
- Give something back: a broadcasted conversation or workshop, participation in the organization’s strategy for national engagement, collaboration on a community event
- Envision an expanded partnership strategy
- Make the work visible: through a culminating article about the host organization’s work and their community and through online conversations in concert with colleagues across the country
Year of the Rural Arts 2014 Residencies include:
- The Coleman Center for the Arts in York, AL
- Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY
- Epicenter in Green River, UT
- Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, MA.
- Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, MN
- M12 Art Collective in Byers, CO