Every society must provide art, entertainment, and information for its members. - Herbert J. Gans
Within society there are many different cultures and each produces different forms of art. Art often provides a glimpse into a culture's past and present. Art is often viewed as falling into two categories: fine art and folk art.
Even though all societies create art, exposure to the arts tends to be somewhat exclusive to different portions of society. For instance, exposure to the arts is vastly different between urban and rural areas. The National Endowment for the Arts primary mission is to increase access to the arts. Yet, over one third of the NEA funding goes to only six cities: New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Many primarily rural areas are left with little access and exposure to the arts.
The majority of Nebraska is composed of farmland intermixed with the occasional small town. The purpose of this thesis is to develop an arts outreach center that will bring fine art and folk art to rural Nebraska. The Cultural Arts Center will serve as a gallery and a teaching institution for culture of folk art, fine art and the farm. The site is located on a historic farm in Cass County Nebraska. Cass County is the midpoint between Omaha, Nebraska's largest city, and Lincoln, its capital. The farm was homesteaded in 1875 and was bought by the Story family in 1877. The history of the farm is depicted through the development of its barns over time. These historic barns will be adaptively reused in combination with new construction to house the Folk Art Fine Art Center.
Society defines and creates culture, while culture lends itself to a collective identity of society. Art is one element of culture that is necessary for a society to thrive. Art is simple in nature although hard to define. Yet, all societies create art. Art often provides a glimpse into a society's culture, the past and present. The arts illustrate and depict values and ideals within society. The cave painting of Altamira Spain, Jacques Louis David's Death of Marat, and Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych all illustrate different things of importance within a given culture and society. The cave paintings show the importance of wildlife to survival, the Death of Marat was a propaganda tool for the French Revolution and the Marilyn Diptych comments on the commercialism of American society.
Even though all societies create art, exposure to the arts can tend to be somewhat exclusive to different populations of society. Today there are many different under served groups within the art world. The rural community is one of these groups. This thesis will develop a Folk Art Fine Art Center in rural Nebraska, which is intended to bring the arts to the rural community. Traditionally folk art has not received the same level of recognition as fine art. The center will showcase folk and fine art as equals, illustrating the importance of both to society.
The purpose of the Folk Art Fine Art Center is to bring fine art to the rural community in a natural rural setting, bridge the gap between fine art and folk art, and celebrate the culture of the farm and its importance to the state of Nebraska. The art center will be an open studio exposing the processes as well as the final works of art. The artist of the farm will live on site and become part of the community reaching beyond the farm.