Mural Map & Community History Toolkit
Springboard for the Arts and Art of the Rural were inspired to commission a toolkit from an artist living and working in a rural place, as a way to bridge the Rural Generation Summit in May 2019, and the Rural Arts & Culture Summit in October 2019. This toolkit is the result.
At the Rural Generation Summit in Jackson, Mississippi, we announced an open call for this commission, and were delighted to receive applications from artists all over the country, with projects of all shapes, sizes, and scales. What was evident in all of the applications, was the unique creativity, and how artists were using the resources of each place to make engaging, community- facing work.
What drew us to Shel Neymark’s project is that yes, it is a mural map of the Embudo Valley, and yes, it is a technical ceramics project, but what became clear was that the process of making the mural map was a process of engaging a community in conversation about its history. The process of being in community, consulting with elders, deciding what histories to highlight, what was important to the town—these all come through in this toolkit. You can read more about Shel and his work on Creative Exchange.
As you read it, we hope you see paths for your own community in there. Whether you wind up making informational signposts, or a community play, or painting murals, or replicating the ceramics process, artists play an active and critical role as the storytellers, preservationists, and welcomers to our towns.