NASAA Notes: March 2014

March 10, 2014

North Dakota: Trails & Rails Residency

Traditional fiddler Preston Schmidt and guitar player Ashley Wiese, an apprentice in NDCA’s Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, perform on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line. Photo courtesy National Park Service/Trails & Rails Program North Dakota

Through its participation in the National Park Service and Amtrak’s Trails & Rails Program, the North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) cultivates audiences and opportunities for local performing artists while simultaneously introducing travelers to the state’s cultural and geographic diversity. The national Trails & Rails Program, which began in 2002, aims to connect Amtrak passengers to public lands and regional heritage through entertainment and education. The program operates on Amtrak trains around the country but is unique in North Dakota, where the NDCA, which in 2013 received the National Park Service’s first-ever National Trails & Rails Partnership Award, makes it an artist residency and books storytellers, singers, dancers, musicians and other folk and traditional artists for performances on the Empire Builder line. Amtrak and the National Park Service support the NDCA residency by covering the train fare, food and lodging of the performing artists. As a result of this state-federal partnership, artists meet new audiences—more than 7,000 people in 2013 alone—while passengers, most hailing from other states and countries, enjoy a wide variety of North Dakota’s Native American, Norwegian, Irish and other traditions. For more information, contact NDCA Folklorist Troyd Geist.

In this Issue

Executive Director's Column

State to State

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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