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Art-Train-History Festival


Frequently Asked Questions
The Artrain USA FAQ

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What is Artrain USA?

      Artrain USA is the nation's only traveling art museum on a train. As America's museum in motion,Artrain USA has been a leader and pioneer in taking art and cultural programming to communities throughout the nation. With five rail cars housing a fine arts exhibition, interactive area, artist studio, gift shop and staff administrative space, Artrain USA brings exceptional opportunities for learning and community activities across the country via the nation's railroads. Since its inception in 1971, more than 2.6 million people in 600 communities across 44 states, and the District of Columbia, have visited Artrain USA.

What is Artrain USA's Mission?

      Artrain USA's mission is to enrich lives and build communities through the arts. Artrain USA fulfills its mission by bringing visual art exhibitions and programs directly to communities who do not have access to museums or collections. As a powerful catalyst, Artrain USA sparks the formation of local and regional arts councils, bolsters art education programs and community pride, and spurs downtown and depot renovations.

How did it start?

     Founded as Artrain in 1971 by the Michigan Council for the Arts, Artrain USA was established as an outreach program to take art to Michigan communities that did not have access to metropolitan museums. A tremendous success, Artrain USA was invited to tour outside the state, and in 1973 with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artrain USA launched its first national tour. Artrain USA has toured nationally ever since.

Where is Artrain USA based?

      Artrain USA is nationally headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

What is Artrain USA's annual budget?

      Artrain USA's annual budget is $1,500,000.

Who is Artrain USA's audience?

      People of all ages and all levels of art knowledge and all interests as well as train enthusiasts.

Who travels with the train?

      There are eight staff members. Seven travel by van from community to community. One staff member always travels in the caboose during transport between communities to ensure the safety of the train and artwork.

Is there an admission charge to see Artrain USA?

      Artrain USA is free to the public, except in unique circumstances. However, Artrain USA does rely on donation revenue as part of its annual budget. Visitors to Artrain USA are solicited for a donation at the entrance to the train.

Why does Artrain USA request donations from visitors?

      Artrain USA requests donations from visitors because the fees we receive from communities cover less than 20% of Artrain USA actual expenses in each community. Visitors are not required to make a donation to enter the train, but for those that are able to, their support is very much appreciated.

How much will it cost Artrain USA to come to St Albans?

      Artrain USA requests communities to offset a small portion of Artrain USA's actual expense associated with each tour stop. The program fees that your community pays account for approximately 20% of Artrain USA's total costs to visit your community. On average, Artrain USA's exhibition and educational programs, staff, transportation and administrative expenses exceed $35,000 per stop.
      "We estimate that our community costs will exceed $25,000 for this Festival," said AAC Chair Dick Harper. "Fortunately, we have a substantial pool of volunteers giving time and inkind services."

How is Artrain USA funded?

      Funding for Artrain USA comes from contributions (80%) and earned revenues (20%). Contributed revenue sources include public and private grants, corporate contributions and individual contributions. Earned revenue sources include fees from communities and sales from Artrain USA's giftshop.
      Local funding comes from a State of Vermont grant, area businesses, local foundations, and individual donors.

How is the train transported?

      Artrain USA does not own a locomotive; the nation's railroads generously donate the services of equipment and crews to transport Artrain USA from community to community.

Is Artrain USA accessible to wheelchairs?

      Artrain USA's facility is completely wheelchair accessible. Artrain USA travels with wheelchair lifts, which are situated at the entrance and exit, and designs the interior exhibit space to accommodate wheelchairs.

What is the history of the railcars?

      Artrain USA has five cars: three gallery cars, a studio car and a caboose. Artrain USA has just acquired three new gallery rail cars for this exhibition. Car One is a 1949 New York Central sleeper car, and Cars Two and Three are 1949 Pennsylvania Railroad twin diner kitchen and table cars respectively. In January 2000, Artrain USA will replace the gift shop/studio car with a 1947 New York Central baggage dormitory car; and the caboose will be replaced by a 1948 Kansas City Southern end car.

Why is Artrain USA replacing its caboose?

      Handling Artrain USA's caboose produces particular challenges for the nation's railroads when transporting Artrain USA from community to community. Because of the weight difference between a caboose and other rail cars, railroads are often unable to attach any cars to Artrain USA's caboose. At higher speeds, the weight differential between the caboose and the cars on either side of it can cause the caboose to lift off the tracks. For this reason railroads must often place weight restrictions on any train transporting Artrain USA. Replacing the caboose with an end car will allow the railroads more flexibility in hauling Artrain USA, and provide twice the available space for onboard staff administrative space.

What will Artrain USA do with its old rail cars?

      Artrain USA is considering several options for how best to utilize the set of retired rail cars. In 2000, when all of the new rail cars are complete and ready for touring, Artrain USA will devote its attention to the future of the retired rail cars.

Does Artrain USA have a permanent collection?

      Artrain USA does not own a permanent collection. Artrain USA borrows artworks from lending institutions and changes exhibitions every two to three years. Artrain USA is currently presenting its fourteenth exhibition in 28 years. Exhibitions through the years have covered a range of themes including: Romance of Transportation (1993- 1995), 150 Years of Transportation as represented through various artists' perspectives; Treasures of Childhood: 150 Years of American Toys (1989 - 1992), a collection of 300 historically and socially significant toys; and just recently Art in Celebration! (1996- 1998), a collection of original prints from The Smithsonian Associates.

What is the current exhibition?

      Artistry of Space, an exhibition of artworks from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Air and Space Museum art collections that reflects the excitement and energy of space exploration. It will travel onboard Artrain USA through 2002.
      the inception of NASA's Art Program in 1962, NASA has invited more than 250 American artists to be involved in the U.S. space programs and to interpret space flight through their art. The result is a rich visual record of space exploration. In a creative melding of art and science, the artists, responding to space exploration on emotional and spiritual levels, have documented the work of engineers, astronauts and scientists. Sketches capture the immediacy of unfolding events, while larger, finished works created in the artists' studios convey the power of what they have witnessed.
      The Artistry of Space exhibition consists of selected paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and sketches from the NASA Art Collection. From the excitement of the initial effort to put a man on the moon to recent endeavors such as the Mars Pathfinder Mission and the Hubble Space Telescope, world-renowned artists have captured the spirit of space exploration.

What kind of art is it?

      The Artistry of Space exhibition includes artworks of varying styles and media. Styles range from realistic to abstract, created in media such as oil, acrylic, pen and ink, watercolor and pencil.

Who are the featured artists? Will I know any of them?

      Artistry of Space features the artwork of over 50 American artists, including Peter Max, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and James Browning Wyeth.

Where is Artistry of Space touring?

      Artistry of Space began its three-year tour onboard Artrain USA, July 1999, in Washington D.C. and continue through December 1999 in the Northeast states. The only stop in Vermont comes in November, 1999. In 2000, Artrain USA will tour the Southeast and Gulf States; in 2001 the tour will visit the Midwest; and in 2002, Artrain USA will traverse the West Coast and Pacific Northwest states.

How long is a typical Artrain USA visit?

      A typical Artrain USA stay is five days. The train is generally open Thursday through Sunday. During the school year, Thursdays and Fridays are reserved for organized school tours; Saturdays and Sundays are open for general public visitation. Staff members arrive two days before the train for set up, volunteer orientations and local television and media opportunities. The train arrives one day before it is open in the community.

How have other communities responded to Artrain USA?

      Artrain USA has been a catalyst for the formation of many local and regional arts councils, the development of annual arts festivals, the renovation of old railroad depots and the revitalization of downtown districts.

What is DaimlerChrysler's role with Artrain USA?

      Artrain USA's Artistry in Space national tour is sponsored by DaimlerChrysler. They have joined Artrain USA as a partner to take the train to as many communities as possible. Artrain USA travels with a DaimlerChrysler display that is set up in tents at the train site. Local DaimlerChrysler dealerships meet the train at it's different stops to show vehicles and help support DaimlerChrysler's role in bringing Artrain USA to communities.

What local groups are involved with the exhibition?

      The All Arts Council and the St Albans Area Chamber of Commerce co-chair the Railroad Days Festival. Volunteers also come from A.N. Deringer, the New England Central, the Franklin Lamoille Bank, St Albans Historical Museum, St Albans Rotary, the Vermont National Guard, and area schools.
      For more information about the groups, check our sponsors page.

What community services do you need to "bring off" an event like this?

How can I volunteer or contribute locally?

      Call the St Albans Area Chamber of Commerce at (802) 524-2444 or email us at the AAC or the Chamber.
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ArTrain Rides the Rails of Vermont

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
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