act on the road with matthew mazzotta (SMVisS ’09)

Rural Legends Promo. Matthew Mazzotta. 2015.

From July 19-23, ACT Alumni, Matthew Mazzotta (’09) and Amanda Moore (’11) travel in a Trolley from Syracuse, NY to Decatur, Nebraska, as part of Mazzotta’s public art project, RURAL LEGENDS.

RURAL LEGENDS is a storytelling venue inspired by a real ‘tall tale’ from the town of Decatur, Nebraska (population c. 450).  Housed in a trolley, RURAL LEGENDS, will feature Decatur’s legends told by members of the community. The project was initiated through discussions with the people of the town, many of whom referenced a Trolley as part of Decatur’s history. Through further research, it was discovered that the Trolley never existed in reality, rather a superimposed image of a Trolley appeared on an historic postcard of Decatur as part of a marketing scheme to attract visitors to the town.

RURAL LEGENDS aims to turn fiction into reality, by transplanting a trolley into the center of town. This trolley will become a stationary story-telling venue. The Decatur Museum will curate a regular program of storytelling events centered on the town’s legends.

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RURAL LEGENDS is made possible through BYWAY OF ART, an art project, under development since summer 2014, which aims to create four unique community-specific permanent public artworks for four small rural towns in North East Nebraska. This work is a collaborative effort of the Center for Rural Affairs, artist Matthew Mazzotta, and the communities of Decatur, Macy, Lyons, Oakland, Nebraska. RURAL LEGENDS is made possible by Art Place America.

During the summer of 2015, BYWAY OF ART is listening to the concerns and ideas of local folks, researching opportunities, and working with city councils to create four town-wide community-specific public art projects for the people of Decatur, Lyons, Macy and Oakland, NE. BYWAY of OF ART aims to help these small towns move forward through the development of stronger communication and experience amongst residents.


(above) Mazzotta drives the Trolley for the first time.