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Programs seek to encourage art enhancing trails

"Artful Ways"and "Art & Community Landscapes" programs promote connection between the arts and trails

From American Trails

The National Park Service (NPS) signed an interagency agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to encourage creative strategies for enhancing trail-related facilities and trail interpretation on National Recreation Trails using temporary and permanent site-based art.

This agreement continues a 4-year partnership with the NEA, the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program, and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) to promote site-based art as a catalyst for environmental awareness and action at the community level.

Since the inception of the Art & Community Landscapes program, five artist teams have been engaged in 16 diverse community projects in 2004 in New England and North Carolina, and Southern California, and the Pacific Northwest. The renewed funding from NEA will allow the program to include two NRT sites in FY05! This marks the first time that the NRT program will be able to offer a benefit to local trail managers beyond recognition and technical assistance. This program has led to a new and larger partnership, Artful Ways, which includes American Trails, the USDA Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. The details of the partnership still need to be worked out, but to start things off, a first-ever nationwide survey of art on trails is currently being conducted by American Trails in cooperation with the National Park Service. Survey findings were highlighted at the 2004 National Trails Symposium in Austin, Texas (October 21-24).

bronze sculpture and stream photo
Umlauf Sculpture Garden in Austin, Texas, host of the 2004 National Trails Symposium

In 2004, American Trails launched Artful Ways, a new partnership with the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, the USDA Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Artful Ways will encourage creative ways of enhancing trail interpretation and trail-related facilities on National Recreation Trails using temporary and permanent site-based art.

The Artful Ways National Survey of art on trails of all kinds seeks practical information about art, how it is funded, how artists are selected, and the impact of art on the trail and community. Survey findings are available on the American Trails website in the Art & Trails area, and will guide development of a new grants program supporting art on National Recreation Trails. See images and trail descriptions from survey responses.

See art along the Mississippi River greenway system in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, host for the 2006 National Trails Symposium

March 25, 2005

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August 13, 2006