What is AgArts and what is its mission?
AgArts is a non-profit designed to imagine and promote a healthy food system through the arts. We are based in collectives throughout both rural and urban areas in the U.S. where we help fund and support artistic projects that envision better ways to grow and consume our food.
Who are we?
We are a group of artists, farmers, and gardeners, and community members who are exploring the connection between agriculture and the arts. We are musicians, theatre, visual, literary, and movement artists. We are chefs, horticulturists, family farmers and beginning farmers. We are all joining together to create a bond among ourselves, and to educate the public about the benefits of sustainable agriculture.
What kinds of projects have we supported in the past?
Through donations and our Local Wonders fund-raising dinners, we’ve supported theatrical performances about immigrant farmers, Slow Music festivals on CSA farms, a touring rural women’s apron exhibit, an on-farm visual art and writing project with at-risk youth, an archive of the botanical drawings of George Washington Carver and more. . .
What are we sponsoring right now?
Right now we’re establishing Farm-to-Artist residencies along the Mississippi River Valley. We want to offer lodging and space for artists to have uninterrupted time to do their creative work. At the same time, we want artists to connect with and be inspired in their work by local farming communities.
Mary Jane White, an attorney and writer, in Waukon, IA., has generously donated the use of her historic Prairie School house to AgArts for use of artist residencies. We hope to have national and international artists stay at the Hager House for a period of 2 weeks to 2 months. In exchange, the artists will give a workshop to local community members, teach a class in the schools, or give a reading, performance, or presentation of their work.
There is a lively local foods scene near Waukon, a town in the heart of the Driftless Area of Iowa, where the limestone cliffs are high and the trout streams run deep. Artists will visit local farms, gathering knowledge and imagery for their work. Farmers will provide studio space or on-farm experiences for the artists. Synergy waiting to happen.
What do we need?
We need your investment in and support of AgArts to get rolling on our Farm-to-Artist residencies. We want to have two artists in residence in the Hager House by Spring 2018. Four other farms and sites have also stepped forward, hoping to host residencies. All of these locations are on the Mississippi River or one of its near-by tributaries. So, click that “Donate” button or offer an in-kind service. With your help, we’ll create a bond among artists, farmers, and consumers, and imagine a better future for all.