Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our New Mission Statement

The Innocent Eye Test; Mark Tansey

With the molting forms of Donald Culross Peattie's cicadas and Charley Patton's bo weavils still on our mind, I would like to share today the new mission statement for The Art of the Rural. This statement is the centerpiece for a series of other new developments that we're looking to announce this summer. 
The greatest joy in editing The Art of the Rural over the last eighteen months has been the conversations and connections I have enjoyed with our readers and contributors. In keeping with the "open canon" model proposed recently, I'd like to offer this mission statement--and I would greatly value any thoughts folks might have. As it stands, I view this new articulation of our mission as a direct result of such feedback. Please feel free to offer your thoughts on our Facebook page or at artoftherural at .

Thanks again for reading and contributing to The Art of the Rural,
Matthew Fluharty
The Art Of The Rural is a non-profit organization working to gather a variety of perspectives on the state of rural arts and culture in American life.

A two-fold mission guides The Art of the Rural. While our website and associated social media components offer readers multiple outlets and platforms through which to learn more about the contemporary dynamics of rural arts and culture, The Art of the Rural seeks to use this technology to create with its readers and advisors an "open canon" of the rural arts. Such an interdisciplinary "open canon," documented across the site and its Rural Arts Links, will serve as an educational and inspirational tool for artists, organizations and readers from both rural and urban backgrounds.

The Art of the Rural seeks to present rural arts and folkways while also considering contemporary responses to rural culture. Rural America stands at the intersection of traditional and modern forms of expression, and we are committed to documenting art that works through this unique and complicated inheritance.

The Art of the Rural recognizes that "rural arts and culture" is not solely composed by folks living in a place census officials deem "non-metropolitan." As many of our organization's editors and collaborators are part of the nation's "rural diaspora," we understand that a great deal of both the art and commentary surrounding rural issues emanates beyond its geography.

The staff of The Art of The Rural is also largely comprised of this next generation of Rural Americans. Thus, we passionately seek to document the voices and viewpoints of its younger citizens: those who have stayed, those who have left, and those who are planning to return.

To those ends, our explorations will consider how these arts, and these attitudes toward culture and community, manifest themselves within the urban areas of this country. The Art Of The Rural aims to present the ways in which the rural, far from any romantic or pastoral notions of a separate and idyllic space, is deeply connected with the daily lives of all Americans.