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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.

Marina Garcia-Vasquez

This article originally appeared on Creators.

When we think of Americana—things associated with the culture and history of the US—we think of open landscapes, industrial materials, a

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 Creators 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 us here. 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

Wyoming

This Wyoming Art Collective Turned Political in the Wake of Trump

Interactive Public Art Meets Affordable Housing in Casper, WY

This Animal Art Museum Is Like an Art History Zoo

Nature-Loving Artist Translates Wild Encounters onto Canvas

Montana

A Found Fabric Textile Artist Bucks Tradition in Montana

The Wild West Is Alive and Well in these Nature Photos

Montana's Dinosaur Sculptor is Dr. Frankenstein Meets Dr. Suess

A Plein Air Painter Finds Peace in the Montana Mountains

West Virginia

Charming Ink Illustrations Personify Cute Animals

Arkansas

How One Man Turned an Arkansas Garage into an International Art Gallery

The Best Kid Artists In Arkansas Get A Museum Show

I'm the Only Latina Working in the Arkansas House of Representatives

Kentucky

Female Inmates Bare Their Souls for Emotional Portraits in KY

The Kentucky Derby's Official Hat Maker Shares Her Secrets

187 Photos Map a Photographer's Love for Louisville

A Tattoo Artist Embraces His Appalachian Roots

Colorado

100% Sustainable Art Blossoms in Colorado

Colorado's Digital Archeologist Is Mapping Your Data Doppelganger

Why 160+ Artists Flock to a Printing Studio in Colorado

Washington

In Seattle, Decolonization is a Full Time Gig

POV: Young Artist Fight an Uphill Battle in Seattle

'Queer Feelings' Displays Diversity Along the Gender Spectrum

Seattle's Underrepresented Artists Get Showcased in Vignettes

Tennessee

Ziggy Stardust's Daughter Is Alive and Living in Nashville

How Real Estate Ate Nashville's Smallest Art Gallery

Sea Meets Sky in a Tennessee Artist's Cosmic Collages

We're the Artists Fighting Racism in Memphis

Darkly Humorous Paintings Critique Society's Relationship with Technology

Memphis Makes a Bet on Unlikely Philanthropists--Millennials

Delaware

After Getting Sober, An Artist Helps Other Recover Through Creativity

The Oldest State in the Union Has Something to Say About Art

New York Rent Too Damn High? Try Delaware.

'Fearless Girl' Sculptor Says Removing Her Work Would Squash Its Meaning

Oregon

Why Portland Needs All-Women Art Spaces

A Free Arts Camp in Oregon Fights Poverty and Nurtures Kids

Oregon's Steampunk Sculptor Keeps a Collective Afloat

Native American Artist Ka'ila Farrell Smith Bridges Indigineous and Western Culture

Portland's Able Baker Lets Artists Cook Up Their Own Shows

Arizona

Artist Laura Amphlett Hides the Desert's Magic in Collaged Boxes

GWAR's Slave Pit and the Richmond Art Scene from Whence It Came

Artist Brothers Fortual Are Transforming Phoenix with a Nomadic Art Space

A Light Artist Uses Projections as a Conduit to God in Arizona

How Political Art Heats Up a Divided Arizona

15 Years of APACHE Skateboards Links Tribal and Skate Cultures in AZ

[NSFW] ColorOrgy Hijacks Gender Norms with Cheeky Pastel Illustrations

A Mexican American Artist Advocates for Immigrants in Arizona

Cacti, Crows, and Crazy Colors Combine to Celebrate Arizona

How Moving to Arizona Unlocked This Muralist's Candy-Colored Fantasy Land

Virginia

A Step-by-Step Guide to Staying an Artist While Having a Baby

The Performance Artist Fusing Mayan Rituals, Hip Hop, and Punk

After Going to Jail for Vandalism, a Virginia Muralist Keeps Painting

Nebraska

Essay: Inclusive DIY Space "The Mez" Nurtures Amateur Artists in Nebraska

Finger Painted Self-Portrait by Kids Emulate Chuck Close Paintings

Parallel Visions Makes Space for Nebraska's Artists of Color

The Nebraska Zine Fests Turning Makers Into Activists

A Skate Park Provides a Creative Haven for Nebraska Teens

Forage for Wild Edibles at Nebraska's DIO Festival

A Scrappy Volunteer Art Space Draws Creatives to South Omaha, NE

Maine

Essay: An Artist 'From Away' Fosters Her Own Tribe in Maine

Piecing Together a Print 'Visual Creole' Under the Isolation of the Maine Sky

When Is a Cup Not a Cup? When It's a Political Statement

Essay: Though Remote, Maine Is a Fertile Ground for Contemporary Arts

Essay: In Maine, If There's an Artistic Will, Artists Will Find a Way

Mississippi

Essay: Growing Up in the Mississippi Delta Made Me a Musician

And Gallery Is Fostering a Groundbreaking Contemporary Art Scene in Jackson, MI

A Farmer's Daughter Turned Photographer Learns to Love Her Mississippi Roots

A Quadriplegic Painter Created An Artist Paradise for Artists with Disabilities

Essay: In the Heart of Dixie, Art Is Social Commentary

Essay: In Mississippi, Art = Community

Florida

Florida Womyn Carve Out Spaces for Feminist Voices with "She/Folk" Network

Florida Artist Uses Fabric Scraps and Found Objects to Investigate Race

Utah

15 Years of Utah Arts Reportage, From Sun Tunnels to Outsider Art

How Salt Lake City Became a Modern Dance Mecca

Essay: On the Edge of Zion, Utah Artist Remain Untamed

In Central Utah, a Contemporary Arts Center Puts Community First

[NSFW] This Feminist Ex-Mormon Brings Floral Vagina Paintings to Utah