When we think of Americana—things associated with the culture and history of the US—we think of open landscapes, industrial materials, and domestic crafts that conjure a sense of nostalgia. We're out of touch with artists in the Heartland, Bible Belt, Four Corners, Dakotas, and even the Pacific Northwest, but certain they are present, turning sorrows and desires into glorious manifestations of identity, truth, and liberty.
Today The Creators Project embarks on something new: an editorial journey to learn about creativity across the United States. 50 States of Art is a yearlong editorial investigation into the art, artists, and art organizations that make up the complex cultural landscape of the USA in 2017.
To better appreciate our country at large, we'll seek to understand the localized and unique considerations artists are making throughout the country to maintain their practices, foster communities, and uphold their vocations in pursuit of a better sense of self. We want to support artists working in different mediums, ecstatic styles, and emergent genres. Each month we will focus on creative communities within five states as a litmus test to understand local demographics, politics, and cultural dynamics from an artist’s frame. It is our hope that we can celebrate other Ghost Ships, herald other Pulse nightclubs, spark new creative movements, empower new hashtags.
We want to hear from you if you shoot films with your iPhone; see sculptures in shovels; choreograph dances for Instagram; carve objects by hand; manipulate your body as a canvas; acknowledge your gender as a platform; see new worlds in code; find possibility out of trash; use the lens as a mirror; consider data a medium; write memes as poetry; formulate campaigns out of GIFs. That is to say, we're looking for artists who understand the world more succinctly when it is translated into the visual and sensory realms; who refer to art, rather than politics, to learn about humanity and the state of the world.
As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in Letters to a Young Poet, “Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsay able than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.”
If any of this resonates with you, tag your work with #50StatesofArt on Instagram and email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be hunting for new American artists to cover and share on our site throughout the year. We are seeking, in earnest, to forge a path of connection.
This month we are highlighting other 50 State Art projects and starting the year with Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, and Florida. You can check back here for updates.
Editor-in-Chief, The Creators Project