Thursday, August 9, 2012

We Did It! The Rural Arts and Culture Map Receives A Rural Digital Advocacy Grant

This morning we are writing to share some wonderful news: The Rural Arts and Culture Map has received a Rural Digital Advocacy grant and, thanks to all of your votes, has won the crowdsourcing competition!

This grant, provided by the Rural Policy Action Partnership with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, will allow Art of the Rural, in collaboration with Appalshop, Feral Arts, and the M12 art collective, to create this rich and engaging multimedia map and to engage a diverse range of communities. Here's more information on this partnership from our previous articles:
With these collaborators’ expertise in media-making, design, and community-engagement, Art of the Rural will utilize this dynamic open source 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.

Most importantly, this project is driven not by any single organization, but by the people themselves. With opportunities to share video, audio, photography, and text, PlaceStories will give full agency to an audience ready to become active participants in a mission to create new rural narratives. Thus, the Map becomes a manifestation of direct, local, experience; a digital tool that transcends itself; a meeting point for conversation and shared ground; and a foundation through which to unite and motivate rural citizens across the country and contribute to the work of the National Rural Assembly.

This project acknowledges that powerful campaigns for equity and social change emerge from cultural imperatives. Artists and arts practitioners are often grassroots innovators and adept partners in media campaigns. With The Rural Arts and Culture Map, this community promises give a compelling voice, and a new avenue of communication, to a wide range of rural issues.
Folks can follow the link above to get a glimpse of this map-in-process; we will formally debut the Map in September, at which time we will share much more information about our immediate and long-term goals. 

Our deepest thanks to the many individuals, artists, musicians, organizations, and websites that helped to spread the word of The Rural Arts and Culture Map and its place in this competition. We are deeply humbled by your enthusiasm and support.

And, in conclusion, many thanks to Rachel Beth Rudi for stewarding this project from our former home on Google Maps to the gorgeous space at PlaceStories! Rachel has spent a summer at the keyboard creating the foundation for the many collaborations and engagements that will occur through this Map.