Defining the Arts in a Regional Context
Regions are defined initially by geographic boundaries, but geographic markers quickly take second place to cultural and ethnic markers, which include music, literature, and art. More particularly, regionalism is identified with folk traditions in dance, music, and narrative. In regions of the United States, such as Appalachia, these traditions provide a strong economic and tourism base and frequently provide a core around which communities—especially rural communities—can rally to create a sense of identity and capture tourism dollars. Unfortunately, the visual arts are usually excluded in this enterprise because they defy regional labels and because civic and community agencies find it easier to focus on the traditional art forms. This presentation will examine efforts by two museums to include the visual arts as defining markers of the Appalachian region: The Cincinnati Art Museum, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the B. Carroll Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Keywords: Regional Arts, Community, Fine Arts, Tourism, Community Development
Dr. Roberta Herrin
Director, Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, East Tennessee State University