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The Fields Project—Bringing artists and agriculture together

July 1, 1993

The Fields Project—Bringing artists and agriculture together

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The Fields Project is now in its fifth year of bringing artists and agriculture together in the Rock River Valley. This event has brought two elements together, resulting in a correlation and appreciation of the work of an artist, to the labors of a farmer. Painters and earthwork sculptors are susceptible to weather, as farmers are, in nourishing their profession.

A farmer sculpts and contours his field when it comes time to plow and plant his crop. This is a time when he enjoys the beauty and nature of his surroundings. When a Fields Project artist comes to our area, he/she is able to capture that beauty that enriches us every day, on canvas. This marriage has been beneficial to everyone who has participated in this fine art event, or who has attended the one-day art show/sale that culminates on the last day. This year, the art show/sale will be Sunday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Mix Park in Oregon. Area artists have also been invited to display their works of art as well.

Host families for The Fields Project also participate in the week-long event designed to celebrate the marriage of art and agriculture unique to Oregon and Ogle County. Hosts provide breakfast and dinner for their guest artist and join in the myriad of Fields Project events. “These artists and local farm families bond so well, they attend weddings and see each other year after year,” explained co-coordinator Dixie Hammer.

Committee members have been meeting for months to plan and prepare for the eight-day event, which takes place June 14-22.

Betty Adams, co-coordinator of the event, explained: “We started with a group of people who want to promote the art in our community. We had the idea that the two things we have here in our community are the heritage of art and agriculture. Our theme is ‘bringing art and agriculture together.’ What we do is, we bring artists from all over the country to reside with a farm family for eight days. They create art. They go out and paint all over the county. They also have the experience of being close to farm life.”

Has The Fields Project been successful in its mission? “So far, we have had 48 artists who have come from all over the U.S. and Canada,” she said. “We have had 21 farm host families. This year we are expanding our art show and calling it ‘The Fields Art Festival.’”

More people are coming on board with the project. “We have a committee of 20 people who work year-round putting on this event,” Adams said. “It’s very significant what happens with the artists and their farm host families in terms of what they share with each other and how they understand that they both are in professions that have great risks, and that they produce a product, but they don’t know whether they will sell it or make a profit. Those are the kinds of things they begin to understand about each other. I think it’s also significant that what we do is rather unique in that art and agriculture are brought together. Agriculture is having a hard time now in terms of people understanding it, and what impact it has on our world and the changes that are taking place in agriculture.”

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