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50 States of Art: A Letter from the Editor

Each month we'll focus on the creative communities of five different US states.

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 editor@thecreatorsproject.com. 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.

Every month we are highlighting another five states in the 50 States of Art project. You can check back here for updates below.  

Best,

MGV

Editor-in-Chief, The Creators Project

Minnesota

Fleeing Civil War, A Somali Performance Artist Finds Refuge in Minnesota

Portraits of Minnesota's Somali Immigrants Capture the Ache of Leaving Home

Essay: Is Minneapolis America's Next Powder Keg for Art?

18 Different Artists Designed a Wondrous Mini-Golf Course in Minnesota

Missouri

Get to Know the Radical Collective Sticking Up for St. Louis Artists

Essay: Open Space, Easy Living Creates Space for Thought in Kansas City

Essay: St. Louis Is Undergoing an Artistic Renaissance

New Mexico

Meet the George R.R. Martin-Endorsed New Mexico Collective Saving America's DIY Venues

Inside New Mexico's Body Shop-Turned-Art Gallery

Essay: New Mexico Is a Haven for Indigenous and Xicano Artists  

North Dakota:

Standing Rock-Born Sculptor Cannupa Hanska Luger Fights for Cultural Survival | #50StatesofArt

Learn Quillwork and Indigenous Culture at North Dakota Gallery Five Nations Arts | #50StatesofArt

Hand-Cut Collages Collapse Modern Disarray in North Dakota | #50StatesofArt

How Art Immortalized #NoDAPL Protests at Standing Rock | #50StatesofArt

Photographer Uses 166-Year-Old Process to Capture the Spirit of North Dakota | #50StatesofArt

South Carolina:

The Charleston, SC Art Gallery That Dares to Be Different | #50StatesofArt

A Curator Gives Us the Lowdown on Art in the South | #50StatesofArt

Essay: Planting Seeds of Progressive Art in Trump's America | #50StatesofArt

Hawaii:

Meet Honolulu's Friendly Neighborhood Art Collective | #50StatesofArt

Essay: Hawaii Blossoms into a Paradise for Street Art | #50StatesofArt

Essay: A Hawaiian Artist Confronts the Lasting Legacy of Colonialism | #50StatesofArt

Animating Endangered Species to Save Them in Hawaii | #50StatesofArt

Indiana:

Artists Pioneer a "Fairer Form of Gentrification" in Indiana | #50StatesofArt

Meet the Artist-Run Incubator Empowering Makers in Indiana | #50StatesofArt

Steampunk Puppets Take Center Stage in Indiana | #50StatesofArt

Illinois:

From Brunch to Bike Jousting, This Chicago Gallery Does Whatever it Takes to Sell Art | #50StatesofArt

Chicago's 2nd Floor Rear Festival Celebrates DIY Art Spaces of All Kinds | #50StatesofArt

Why an LA Artist Turned an Abandoned Taco Bell into a Midwestern Art Exhibit | #50StatesofArt

Why Is This Tiny Illinois Town Obsessed with Superman? | #50StatesofArt

Essay: Priced Out of New York, an Artist Finds Her Midwestern Tribe | #50StatesofArt