March 23, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Ellms, [email protected]
Waterville Creates Announces “The Farm Tools Project” at Ticonic Gallery and Railroad Square Cinema Lobby
WATERVILLE, Maine – Waterville Creates is excited to announce “The Farm Tools Project” exhibition at Ticonic Gallery and the Railroad Square Cinema Lobby, opening Monday, April 11, and on view through June 17, 2022.
A visual exploration of the use of hand tools on small farms in Maine, this exhibition features cyanotypes, an old form of non-toxic photography that relies upon sunlight and water. To create these images, artist Michel Droge and archaeologist Sarah Loftus traveled around the state with a portable cyanotype kit and photographed tools with farmers in their fields. Droge and Loftus interviewed farmers regarding their practices, the significance of the tools they use, and how they engage with the earth to produce and harvest food.
“Visiting these small farms and making prints of hand tools gave me a deeper understanding of the vastly collaborative and interconnectedness of farmers, the land, and our communities,” said Droge. “I saw the creative process of farming through these hand tools, often passed down through generations, and the love, magic, and perseverance that farmers call up as they tend the land and nourish our communities.”
The tools depicted pose questions around innovation, as well as the resilience and resurgence of small farms in Maine. How can we connect and support our local farms? What does it mean to practice sustainable farming in the 21st century? How can farms mitigate food insecurity in our community?
“We wanted to play with the way we view everyday tools and how they actively shape the ways we perceive and interact with the world,” said Loftus. “Tools are quiet, but far from silent partners. They reveal something of our collective capacity for invention and ingenuity, as well as our enormous power for devastation and destruction.”
Farmers across the state are currently facing loss of livelihood and significant health impacts due to contamination from PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals.” In recognition of the growing threat of PFAS to Maine’s farms, 100% of the art sale proceeds will be donated to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and Maine Farmland Trust’s (MFT) PFAS Emergency Relief Fund. Jointly administered by MOFGA and MFT, the PFAS Emergency Relief Fund provides short-term income replacement for farms that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry has identified as having high PFAS contamination test results; helps pay for initial PFAS testing on farms that choose to do their own testing; and supports access to mental health services for impacted farmers.
“Farmers in Maine are facing devastating impacts to their land, their water, their livelihoods, their health, and their kids’ health because of PFAS dumping,” said Loftus. “It’s heartbreaking. Farmers are the backbone, and when they fall, we all fall. The state needs to pass robust legislation to help farmers deal with PFAS contamination, and we thought this was one way to help raise awareness and contribute to MOFGA and MFT’s emergency fund.”
“The Farm Tools Project” is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission and by the Kindling Fund, a grant program administered by SPACE as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regranting Program. Additional exhibition support provided by Kennebec Savings Bank and Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Participating farms included Black Kettle Farm, Lyman; Burke Hill Farm, Cherryfield; College of the Atlantic’s Peggy Rockefeller Farm, Mount Desert Island; Four Season Farm, Harborside; Frith Farm, Scarborough; Girard Farm, Lyman; Hurricane Valley Farm, West Falmouth; Ironwood Farm, Albion; and Villageside Farm, Freedom.
A reception will be held with the artists on Thursday, April 21, from 5-7 p.m. at Ticonic Gallery at 10 Water Street, Suite #106. This event is free and open to the public.
“The Farm Tools Project” exhibition runs until Friday, June 17, 2022. Admission is free. Ticonic Gallery is open to the public Monday-Friday from 12–5 p.m, and the Railroad Square Cinema lobby is open to the public Monday-Sunday from 2-9 p.m.
About Waterville Creates
Waterville Creates connects artists, organizations, and the public with arts and cultural events and programs happening in our community. Supporting and promoting arts education, exhibitions, theatre, film, music, and dance that is accessible to all, Waterville Creates is leading the effort to make Waterville an exciting cultural destination and a thriving, vibrant community. For more information about Waterville Creates, visit watervillecreates.org.