Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nonprofit project begins mapping rural arts and culture from residents' point of view

An arts and culture map of rural America has been completed and is now available. The Rural Arts and Culture Map is the creation of The Art of the Rural, a nonprofit organization that gathers perspectives about the state of rural arts and culture, in collaboration with Appalshop, Australia's Feral Arts and the Denver-based M12 Art Collective. The map is an attempt to quantify the dynamic and complex arts and cultures of rural areas across the country. (Map shows location of shared resident stories)
Art of the Rural contributing editor Rachel Reynolds Luster said last January on the Daily Yonder that such a map was needed because culture maps often miss what is most important to rural communities. An accurate cultural atlas for the country "involves layers, so you could compare things such as settlement patterns, language, music, native populations, native plants and domesticated crops," she wrote. The map would allow people to find out where most people in an area go to church, how many residents have broadband, where the nearest hospital is located, or what people do for work and recreation.

The organization will use the map to "present new perspectives from rural America, with a focus on rural youth, rural-urban exchange, and a sustaining interest in the changing face of rural America; the next generation, and their membership in diverse ethnic and cultural communities," according to the Rural Arts and Culture Map website. The project is driven by the people in rural communities, who have opportunities to share pictures, video, audio, and text to help "create new rural narratives." To read more about the project and view the interactive map, click here.

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