Farm/Art DtourSauk County, WI
The Farm/Art Dtour is one of the more unique ArtPlace grantees due to its pastoral setting. “Farm-based ephemeral art installations” and artist-made “Roadside Culture Stands” join gustatory experiences like tastings, demonstrations, and farm tours. Wormfarm Institute, the group leading the project with support from the county economic development organization and state tourism office, calls their approach “economic gardening.”
Donna Neuwirth, Executive Director of the Wormfarm Institute, explains:
We’re in a rural place in fly over country. Sometimes it’s hard to get traction on new ideas. Sometimes the audience is only us. Experiments may ‘fail’ on the bean counter level but leave fertile soil in their wake making the next thing more viable, more likely to connect, to ignite, to take root. Though our issues here are somewhat different I was struck by what Theaster Gates said in his ArtPlace blog about the Black Cinema House referring to his inner city Chicago neighborhood. If I filled in the blanks below we’d be talking about rural Wisconsin.
“Often times I’m asked why am I doing this and why am I invested in ___________. When I moved into___________, I decided that I didn’t want to leave my neighborhood to access the amenities that were important to me. I thought, if I start to invest in bringing these amenities to my neighborhood then other people in my community would also be benefiting. I’m doing this not because the place I am living does not have vibrancy or vital cultural places. It is that there are no venues to catapult our cultural expressions. This is the politic of staying. This is why I am doing this. What happens if artists, politicians, and designers stay a little longer and do just a little more?
What would happen if we invest all that energy in the places we live?”
Yeah – what he said!