The Rural America Contemporary Artists: Making Nowhere into Somewhere, Making A Statement
Population density in urban areas contributed to this. More people living in close proximity promoted a rapid exchange of ideas, attitudes, styles and fashions. The result was innovation based on the mutations these exchanges fostered. Rural areas are less dense having less frequent random interactions. So the classic model of innovation in visual art is, progressive ideas form in urban centers of culture then migrate out to rural communities.
More recently economics, population growth and the advancement of university art education have brought many serious artists to live in rural communities. The cost of setting up a studio in urban areas has become prohibitive. The numbers of individuals who define themselves as artists has exploded. University art departments are now prevalent in even the smallest rural community across America. These factors have contributed to the incredible growth of rural contemporary art.
Yet, culturally speaking, we still function under the old notion that progressive innovation comes from urban areas migrating outward to rural communities.
I believe the web and social media has changed this dynamic.
These contributing factors may be creating a new paradigm. A new paradigm where the previous model no longer applies. Progressive, contemporary ideas, trends and fashions can now move from rural to urban areas. Artists can live in rural areas and still be progressive and innovative.
RACA’s slogan is “Making nowhere into somewhere.” Of course this motto is also a wry commentary on the fact that those who live in rural America already know it is “somewhere.” So part of the RACA mission is to connect, highlight and validate the immense community of artists that has always sought the solace, inspiration and beauty of rural America. It is also RACA’s mission to assert that the art made by rural artists is relevant.
This first exhibition, curated by the Institute for Rural America Contemporary Art, exemplifies what is going on in our tiny corner of rural America. The artists collected here are not just creating work that echoes what they see in New York or Los Angeles. These artists struggle to make highly original and innovative work. They view themselves as equal voices with their urban peers. Cognizant and dynamic, their work speculates on the paradoxical nature of life in twenty-first century America. These artists are Rural America Contemporary Art.
Institute for Rural America Contemporary Art