Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Matthew Fluharty is Director of Art of the Rural and editor of The Art of the Rural site. Currently a Visiting Writer and a PhD Candidate at Washington University in Saint Louis, he's writing on "rural modernism" in British, Irish, and American literature. He has spoken widely on issues of rural art and culture, most recently at the 2011 BIG FEED, the Rural Sociology Society conference, the American Conference on Irish Studies, and the From the Rustbelt to the Artist Belt conference. He serves on the Board of Directors for the M12 Art Collective.

Matthew's poetry has appeared in the US and abroad in magazines such as The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Cincinnati Review, Grist, The Hudson Review, LIT, The Missouri Review, Notre Dame Review, Open City, Poetry Ireland Review and The Rattling Wall; he also co-edited the anthology Breaking the Skin: New Irish Poetry.

He is the son of a fifth-generation Ohio Valley farming family.

Contributing Editor:

Rachel Reynolds Luster was born and raised in Arkansas and now lives in Couch, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains. She is a writer, folklorist, fiddler, textile artist, and community organizer there where her work focuses on addressing the holistic health of her home county through land-based cultural and economic initiatives. She has several publications under her belt including The Anthology of Arkansas Folksong, which she co-edited, several entries in the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and a biographical sketch of one of her folklore heroes, Mary Celestia Parler, in the Overland Review. Currently, she is crafting a dissertation which seeks to apply key principles from ecology to cultural practice, focusing on cultural initiatives that encourage the conomic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental wellbeing of Oregon County, her home, and its enduring cultural traditions. When matters aren’t so heady, she enjoys playing her fiddle, alone and with others, cooking, playing in the garden, spending time with her husband Mike and their two boys, and generally making and doing.

Digital Intern and Contributor:

Rachel Rudi was raised in Marshfield, Vermont, and is presently a student of sociology at Warren Wilson College in western North Carolina. In her early high school days she began singing with Village Harmony, a Vermont-based organization that teaches community-made vocal traditions to folks of all ages, and the experience helped her come to see music as a sort of social barometer, a medium created by and informing our lifestyles, a way of conversing with a culture. She’s been singing ever since, and, as a friend said, “just hasn’t gotten around to quitting yet.”

Community Arts Editor:

Savannah Barrett is a Masters Degree candidate in Community Arts Management at the University of Oregon. She is a passionate advocate for arts access in geographically and economically isolated places, and is in the process of completing academic research relating to the viability of the rural arts programs of the Cooperative Extension Service throughout history. She is currently finishing her graduate internship with the University of Kentucky’s Fine Arts Extension program, working on rural community arts development initiatives in the Appalachian mountains. Savannah hails from rural Kentucky is a country girl at heart though she’s traveled to Europe and Africa studying arts and community building.

She graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelors degree in modern culture, social change, and anthropology. She has contributed her enthusiasm to the Kentucky arts community for the past ten years, first as a founder of a local arts agency in high school in Grayson County, Kentucky, and most recently as the Education Manager for the Louisville Visual Art Association and the Creative Director of Salvo Collective. She has exhibited leadership skills at the University of Oregon as the Co-Chair of the local Americans for the Arts chapter of Emerging Leaders in the Arts Network and as the founder/facilitator of the Oregon Folklife Network/Lane Arts Council collaboration to form a Culture and Education Alliance in the Eugene area.

Course on Midwest Culture Series Editor:

Kenyon Gradert is a doctoral student in English at Washington University in St. Louis with research interests in religion and philosophy, romanticism, and the Frontier within nineteenth-century American literature. He was raised on a third-generation grain and cattle farm in northwest Iowa where his immediate and extended family continue to live, mostly as mechanics and farmers. Currently, his little brothers and father poke about the blackest dirt in the Midwest and, when crops are in, fly over it, cropdusting in their magnificent, yellow Air Tractors.

Notes From The Field Series Editor:

Jennifer Joy Jameson is a folklorist from Southern California. With a Master of Arts degree in folk studies from Western Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Arts in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University, Jennifer has been engaged in the study and presentation of folk and traditional arts since 2007 Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, her professional experiences encompass museums, festivals, and other public sector and non-profit folk arts programming on the national and state level. Her research interests include folk and self-taught art, art environments, the culture of roadside tourism, contemporary D-I-Y culture, early country music, collectors and their collections, folk medicine, and folk belief within the United States.

North Country Series Editor:

Alyce Ornella was born and raised in the Ohio River Valley.  She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has lived in coastal Maine for the past eight years.  Alyce works as a mentor at the Spindleworks Art Center in Brunswick and is a documentary filmmaker focused on place-based and ethnographic storytelling.  She co-produced The Eventful Life of Al Hawkes with Andrew Jawitz (2010), a film about Maine country music, and is currently working on the web documentary HOME COUNTRY.

Rural Fiction Series Editor:

Polly Atwell is a writer, critic, and author of the novel Wild Girls (Scribner, 2013). Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories and Best New American Voices.  Atwell was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1978 and went to Interlochen, a boarding school in Michigan. She received her MA in Literature at University of Virginia and an MFA in fiction from Washington University in St. Louis. She teaches at Missouri State University.

Past Contributors:

Ian Halbert used to read Greek and Latin poetry a lot. Now he only does it occasionally. Instead, he reads and eats more broadly, and cooks whatever animal parts he can, especially when he finds some nice piggy parts: bellies, shoulders, jowls, tails or ears!

Beth Nobles is a visual artist and the Executive Director of the Texas Mountain Trail, a non-profit organization working on community development and tourism marketing for Far West Texas. She's a former resident of the Ragdale Foundation and the Anderson Center for Interdiscinplinary Studies, a contributor to several blogs and a workshop presenter on social media for tourism promotion. She can be reached at

Victor Schoonover is a full-time teacher of English Language Learners in Rockford, IL.  When he isn't doling out assignments about verb conjugation or pre-algebra he is painting his autobiography on a discarded window or writing lyrics about all the neighboring towns with populations less than 30,000 people.  While Victor enjoys anything barbecued he looks forward to experimenting more with Asian-fusion cuisine.