Monday, July 17, 2006

American Farmland Trust Event

Long Purple Barn, 2005, Oil on Panel, 12x16

Preserving farmland and open space is a pretty hot topic up here in upstate NY, as well as in other parts of the country, as it should be. We lived in Logan, Utah for 10 years and the rampant, unchecked growth of strip malls, big box retailers and badly designed housing developments contributed to our decision to leave the area. Our local area here in NY is very conservative about development, and one nearby town, Cooperstown, actually does not allow chain stores or restaurants such as McDonalds or Burger King within the town limits. The town is so charming and beautiful without golden arches on Main Street, and I think we have almost forgotten how things look without all of that clutter. (There are other drawbacks in Cooperstown, such as the rampant, unchecked growth of baseball souvenir stores, however, that's a post for another day.) Anyway, many large property owners, including us, have covenants that state that their property can only be subdivided once, or even not at all. After living here and really growing to appreciate and love the landscape (even though I am still not the outdoorsy type), I have come to feel very strongly about conserving open space and farmland, and try to support the issue whenever I can.

So when Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs asked me to participate in a fund raising event for the American Farmland Trust, I immediately agreed to be involved. The work of five artists, Carolyn Justice, Clarence King, Ann Scott, and George Van Hook, and myself, will be included in an art show and cocktail reception to "celebrate New York's Agricultural and Equine Heritage" at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club on July 29. My work will be included, because, like the other artists, my images tend to focus on farms, the local landscape and barns. The organizers of this event have been very respectful towards the artists, as they will be paying each artist a portion of the proceeds of sales of their work, rather than asking that the art be donated. I have also been very flattered as they have used several of my pieces in their promotional materials including on the invitation and the RSVP card.

I have eight barns all ready to go for this auction. All are paintings of local barns and I hope that whoever gets them will appreciate the value and meaning of them as much as I have come to. Even if the colors are a little flashier in my interpretations of life down here on the farm.


Shan said...

Land conservation is a very hot topic here as well. My town of about 10,000 does have a Target, Walmart,several McD's, etc. but the downtown is still quite quaint. The towns north of us, up the peninsula on which I live, have strict anti-chain zoning regulations. I was told a Land's End outlet store couldn't even make its way in. This makes them very charming and unique and is one of the many reasons for our tourism industry.

Right now there is a big battle over the possibility of a Super Walmart. Someone has been quite literally removing a large hill off the land that is the suspected location of a Super Walmart. It is really depressing to watch.

Sounds like your paintings are supporting a great cause. I think it's great when auctions are done with the artist getting a percentage of the sale as well as the organization. Seems to benefit all involved this way.

Ed Maskevich said...

You may find the books and writings of Wendell Berry to be of interest. He writes quite a bit about farmland and family owned farms. In order for most farmers to compete with agri-business they need to farm at least 600 acres but usually can't afford it. This is a good cause your involved with and it's important.

Tracy said...

Hi Shan, I am glad that many towns have preserved their downtowns, as yours has. Logan tried to do that but now their downtown really struggles in the competition for business with the big boxes.

We occasionally go to a Walmart that's about 40 minutes away. It's seems to be a crappy one, so that makes me feel a bit better about going there. It IS a good place to buy underwear and socks for the kids:-)

Ed, I'll check him out. I have been going through a number of websites that advocate a more natural lifestyle and we are gradually trying to incorporate those things. We don't really plan on farming, just being a bit more self-sufficient.

Cecily said...

That's so cool! I hope the barns raise a ton of funds.

Btw, I'm DROOLING over the lake painting. Really, really wonderful.

Tracy said...

Thanks, Cecily, I hope they make some money too. Glad you like the lake painting.