Untitled, 1960; Ralph Eugene Meatyard
As folks may have noticed, over the last month The Art of the Rural conducted a retrospective of its first two years of articles and features. I appreciate everyone's patience, as we had to delay presenting new material during this period. This was particularly hard, because there was a great deal of art and ideas that we shared on our Rural Arts and Culture Feed but could not follow-up on in greater detail.
During this period I was progressing through an important phase of my dissertation work at Washington University in Saint Louis. The idea of a site like The Art of the Rural emerged at the start of my dissertation project - by looking, and not finding, adequate information and commentary on the rural arts. It's been a great joy to see how my time editing this site, and my engagement with so many readers and artists, had led me to re-think my critical work as well.
Though writing a dissertation is often described as a solitary exercise, my experience has been quite different. The communities that have gathered here, at The Daily Yonder, The Rural Blog, and at a host of other arts groups and organizations, speak to a cultural imperative at work- a zeitgeist, as Brian Frink of Rural America Contemporary Artists would say. I'm hoping to share elements of my own critical work that can help to expand this conversation.
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed their time and enthusiasm to The Art of the Rural.