Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Arts and Ag for 2012

Arts and Agriculture Meeting – December 12, 2011

This meeting--a delicious potluck supper-- was for artists, farmers and other non-farm venues to meet each other and talk about their individual interests in the Arts and Agriculture place-making project in an effort to find commonalities that could turn into real partnerships. Dan discussed the work done under the current NEA grant awarded to the Wallkill River School and some of the ideas that came out of those meetings. The Arts Council is not eligible to apply for a follow-up NEA grant until 2013, so funding for these projects will have to come from other grant opportunities or corporate sponsorships. NYSCA is a possible grant approach to take, but the projects will have to fall under some larger umbrella goal in order to lend cohesiveness to the grant application. The goal will be to develop ideas that can be done with little to no funding, as well as ideas that will require more significant funding so that, regardless of the outcome of our grants, some projects will still happen.

Who Was There:
Seth Aylmer is from Brooklyn, works with an organization called, and is interested in developing public art projects, art on the land.

Dawn Ansbro, Executive Director of the Orange County Arts Council, is interested in incorporating a “farm tour” into the Arts Council’s existing Studio Tour program.

Jane Hamburger is working with Dan Mack on a project to use school courtyards as agricultural learning opportunities and to develop a model that can be replicated in other schools both in and outside of Orange County.

Robert Schmick is from Museum Village and is interested in using their land to help promote agricultural education. He has partnered with the J&AFarm to farm part of the property and possibly use original farming techniques to tie the project to Museum Village’s historic mission.

Laurie Seeman, Strawtown Studio in Rockland County, is an environmental artist who enjoys working with youth and has an established curriculum that could be replicated on a farm.

Joanna Dickey works with Laurie Seeman at Strawtown and has a background in murals and print-making. She is interested in working with youth and making art both on the farm and from the farm.

Gar Wang is a Warwick artist and educator who lectures on organic gardening. Her interest is in developing a program involving the connection between certain traditional art forms/crafts and farm animals/plants (fiber arts such as felting, weaving with sheep, goat, alpaca, etc. as well as dyeing fibers with natural plant materials) and she would be interested in talking with Robert Schmick about the programs at Museum Village as she is interested in the educational potential of this idea. She does not want to see this project become a “tacky” tourism attraction like Applefest which bases its success on commercialism, scale and the use of outside vendors as she feels this could destroy the small town community we all treasure here.

Cheryl Rogowski from Rogowski Farm already does dinner on the farm, breakfasts on the farm, wild week walks, tomato festivals (no more). Interested in preserving what they represent and getting people back in touch with the land while maintaining the integrity of the land. Mentioned Glynwood, a small non-profit working farm in the Hudson Valley ( and their ability to get a small modular mobile slaughterhouse on the property which is needed in Orange County. Also mentioned the interest in master canning classes.

Ron Gee is a Warwick artist and is interested in using the landscape as canvas. Mentioned project in Japan where different color crops are planted in such a way that they create a work of art when seen from above – this is both aesthetically pleasing, as well as practical.

Cedric Glasper, board president for the Warwick Chamber of Commerce, is interested in place-making and is working with the Chamber to develop a tourism strategy for the Warwick Valley region.

Julia Kove is with Arrow Park in Monroe, an 11 room lodge on 77 acres with a 52 acre lake. They will be re-opening after renovations early next year. Julia would like the property to be used more as a community space. She wants to start a community garden and to bring inner city people up to learn about agriculture and sustainability. Would like to work with local artists on art shows or sculpture along the trail. Wants to bring back the experience of rural life, be family-oriented and wants people to experience a sense of wonder during their visit. Julia brought her co-worker who is a designer and set decorator from Los Angeles.

Nancy Colgan is an agriculture teacher in the Warwick school district and has been interested in the Arts and Ag project from the start. She teaches leadership, community service and institutional stability through agriculture.

Michelle Gluck is new to Orange County and teaching at a private school. She is interested in art and environmental education, loves hands on experiences, is into nature discovery and is very interested in the development of a bike tour in Orange County.

We discussed the following places to work with:

Arrow Park (Monroe), Seligmann Estate(Sugar Loaf), Rogowski Farm (Pine Island)
J&A Farm (Goshen, Museum Village(Monroe), Roe Orchards(Chester), Late Bloomer Farm(Campbell Hall), Pennings (Warwick)

Ideas generated
Initiatives aimed at sensitizing Orange County Residents to Arts and Ag issues
Work Arts/Ag Ed into schools
Teaching people about sustainability and Orange County as a food shed
Skill-building – people interested in this due to poor economy
There are grant monies available for projects with a public education focus
Develop activities aimed at Families
capitalize on the success of the Farm Aid event by having another event in the spring to keep agriculture in people's minds(and hearts)
Encourage not-for-profits to have their public fairs and festivals on the land in parks where people have to walk and discover new areas of in formation; artists can be involved in this

Tourism Initiatives: Attracting visitors:
Consider getting tourist referrals from resorts in the area: Mt Creek, Glenmere, the B&Bs: develop an information sheet on what farms,what artists studios are open and avaliable to visit regularly.
Develop Bike Tours that include both farms and artists studios
Develop Ag/Art places to visit with Public art, Art on the land
Offer rural-land-skills oriented workshops for tourists

Grant-Oriented Ideas:
Create place-based events that can be replicated in other places/farms/counties
Need terms like "conservation", education, skill-building to develop a cohesive grant
Projects must be collaborative to be eligible for funding
Need to have one person/organization to be ‘in charge’ in order to check up on people, hold them accountable, collect information, coordinate efforts. If Arts Council writes the grant, they will be that organization.
If there is no central grant, consider having ag and arts affiliates: where people do ag/arts related work and come together once and a while to share and learn from each other.

The next meeting is Monday, January 9th

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Orange County Ag and Arts Project for 2012

We have now completed the focus groups/charette process for the NEA Arts and Agriculture project and thank you for your time and energy. We invite you to see the entire list of ideas generated Please use this blog to comment and indicate your particular interests.
Fifteen of us met to discuss these ideas and help shape the next steps of the project for 2012, at a Potluck Supper at the Arts Council offices at the Seligmann Homestead in Sugar Loaf on Monday, December 12 from 5-7pm.

Here's a report
We're meeting again in early January to form action groups around the ideas people have the most interest and passion for and begin to find the right artists for the right projects on the right farms. Here are some examples. Please call me with any questions

Dan Mack
Arts and Ag Committee Member
845 986 7293