Rural Arts and Culture Map and Interactive Cultural Mapping

A few months ago we posted about the Art of the Rural’s attempt to acquire a Rural Digital Advocacy Grant for their collaborative project, the Rural Arts and Culture Map. They received the grant and last week launched the official version of Rural Arts and Culture Map, a digital, interactive map fueled by public participation.

Hosted by the PlaceStories site and utalyzing a platform designed by Feral Arts, the mapping project works in close collaboration with media-savvy Appalshop and the M12 art collective. The project uses the newest mapping technology to document timeless stories of life in rural communities, allowing participants to document their stories in their own words and then pinpoint the exact locations on the map.  Here’s how Editor Matthew Fluharty and Digital Editor Rachel Beth Rudi describe the map’s potential:

 Together we can not only tell our storiesbut witness how they connect across disciplines, cultures, and geographies. While artists have a particular (and in some cases, necessary) relationship with isolation, rural artists and communities are intimately connected with this condition. Rural America is often given a marginal place in many national conversations, and this sense of separation can often be compounded by the accumulation of mile markers that represent the gap in these perspectives.

The Art of the Rural will also be collaborating with numerous arts and culture organizations including the Boiled Down Juice and our partner project, the McElroy House: Organization for Folklife, Oral History, and Community Action. We’ll be writing more about that in the near future. Until then be sure and check out the map here and follow a new series on the Art of the Rural highlighting the stories found entitled “On the Map.”

Quoting directly from the Art of the Rural, here are just a few ways editors suggest participants to get involved:

• We can create picture postcards of landscapes, local objects, and people that help define our experience of place and the arts. On the opposite side of these digital postcards we can provide explanation and links to other sites.• We can share videos and Soundcloud audio pieces. Have some favorite YouTube and Vimeo clips? Heard a podcast, an interview, a radio piece, or a great new musician on Soundcloud? 

• We can create our own videos and our own audio stories using the Webcam feature.

• Want to share recipes, reflections, quotes, and writing without accompanying video or images? The Notebook storytelling feature is perfect.

• Have a document that adds information and perspective? We can upload pdfs as well to the Map. 

We’ll be posting more about our upcoming collaboration with the map in the near future! If you’re interested in being involved please let us know! Visit the map here. 


  1. Where We’ve Been: Babies, Maps, Projects | Austin Art Blogs says:

    […] Map collaborators, The Boiled Down Juice, has published a wonderful introduction to the Map project here. Many thanks to editor Meredith Martin-Moats! • Many of the AOTR staff are preparing to share […]