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5 Aug 2012
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From CRADLE's "About" website:

"The Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education is committed to 'bringing the arts back home' to small and rural communities with populations under 20,000. Our goal is to 'rebuild the front porch of America' (as Patrick Overton puts it) by strengthening pride of place through a rich expressive life available to everyone.

"The organization will have three main areas of focus:

Communication: through its website, CRADLE will collect, summarize, and distribute information important to rural arts organizations. In addition, because by definition arts organizations in small and rural communities tend to be geographically isolated, CRADLE will facilitate conversations through conferences, meetings, and on-line forums. It is our goal to be a source of inspiration.

Support: CRADLE seeks to promote the creation and growth of arts organizations through fundraising and assistance with administrative tasks. A long-range goal is to provide health insurance and retirement benefits for the full-time staff connected with CRADLE-affiliated organizations.

Education: the knowledge and skills necessary for creating healthy, engaged arts organizations in smaller communities usually go untaught in traditional theatre department. CRADLE, through the Theatre Arts Curriculum Transformation (TACT) project, will devise a curriculum that emphasizes those skills. Through a combination of partnerships with colleges and universities and on-line components, CADLE will make this training available to those interested in becoming rural arts leaders. CRADLE will also provide ongoing workshops and other training for those running arts organizations.

"Our Philosophy:

Localization: In the same way that different places have different types of food, they have their own stories, songs, dances, and craft that make them unique and special. These are an important part of our heritage, and CRADLE is committed to strengthening pride of place and community identity through the sharing of these stories.

Participation: Over the years, we have increasingly allowed celebrities to sing for us, tell us stories, dance for us, and paint our pictures while we sit silently and watch. We believe there is a lot of talent in every community, talent looking for an outlet, talent that with a little encouragement would enrich the lives of everyone. We believe that spending time with each other sharing these talents can create bonds that make a place feel like home.

Stability: Americans move around a lot. This is particularly true of people in the arts, who tend to bring a show to our towns for one night only and never be seen again. We believe that you ought to be able to talk to artists in line at the grocery store. We want the artists connected to a CRADLE-affiliated arts organization to settle down and make a home in the community, to participate in the life of the community, to put down roots. It takes trust to share talents, stories, and songs, and trust takes time.

Self-Reliance: We want a CRADLE arts organization to be as self-sufficient as possible. So many arts organizations are heavily reliant on grants and contributions to stay afloat. We would like to create a business model that is sustainable, so that the organization lives within its means through the enthusiastic support of the community. This requires a commitment to creative simplicity.

Art Community Culture Education History Indigenous Innovation Recovery Rural/Regional Social Enterprise NorthCarolina Preservation Southeast
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