Rural artists (and those who love them) should check out the new RACArt (Rural America Contemporary Art) website, founded by the esteemed Brian Frink, a colleague of mine at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
I’ve lived in Mankato for 18 years and one thing that keeps me here is the multitude of creative talent and free thinkers. Of course, this type of talent and thinking exists anywhere. But in large cities, I’m sure it exists in droves, in a way that could be difficult to navigate. I like the small-ish artist community in the area, because I get a chance to get to know these people. For example, today at the Coffee Hag, I saw:
- A recent MFA grad/writer
- A host of a smooth jazz radio show
- A musician who happens to be opening for the Indigo Girls
- Another musician
- The director of a local earth/spirituality center
- A dance professor
And those were just the people I knew. Who knows what types of creative things the strangers were up to.
Brian is looking for submissions to RACA. Here’s his call:
“RACA currently seeks creative and critical work from artists working in all mediums—from visual art to popular music to flash fiction—for inclusion, discourse, and publication. In particular, we seek work that is from, about, or in conversation with rural America and contemporary art.”
Go to the website for more information.
Do you do art in a rural area? If so, what’s the best thing about it?
Amy Kortuem said:
I live in North Mankato, but I do a lot of harp playing in rural areas surrounding the town. The entire community has been so supportive of my music and has really embraced the sound I put out there for them to enjoy. It’s great to go anywhere (coffee shops, gas station, grocery store, restaurants) and have people come up and tell me how I made their daughter’s wedding, their church service, their charity event, their arts festival more meaningful with my music.
Good point, Amy. I take it for granted when people come up to me and tell me they saw me in the paper, read my article, etc. That probably doesn’t happen too often in a large, urban community. I enjoy getting that feedback.
Tracy Lee Karner said:
Currently I live in a city. Recently, for 12 years I lived in a rural area — population 2000 in 40 square miles. The place was crawling with poets, writers, musicians, artisans & artists–many of them “famous” (a pulitzer prize-winner; a MacArthur recipient; people whose work is regularly auctioned at Christie’s). It was just as normal to be working in the arts as it was to be working in a bank or restaurant or retail or manufacturing or the trades or education. I don’t know whether that was the best part, or whether the nature and sense of solitude within it was best for me.
But whatever it was–the sense of peace and well-being I found there went so deep into me that now I carry it with me wherever I go.
This whole “artists in rural areas” is far from uncommon, even though I’m not sure it’s often brought to attention. If we really started to look, I’m sure we would find many examples of artists who have purposely chosen the rural life.
I’m glad you were able to take those sensibilities with you even after you left.