In the Studio Today... Art on the Farm

Saturday, September 22, 2012

C.Proppé @Cow Track Ranch photo: ©Ann Brooks 2012
For five years, I have been volunteering for the Marin artists group, "Art on the Farm".  It was with great pleasure that I spent my award money, earned from the Wendy Gruber award in 2008, on my first, plein air backpacker's easel at Rileystreet in San Rafael, California. (This year marks the 5th anniversary of Rileystreet in San Rafael, by the way!)  Thank you to photographer, Ann Brooks, for taking this photo of me at Cow Track Ranch this summer.  Visit Ann Brook's website >

As I look back on the past five years with this group, I realize that it has provided a way for me to leave my busy family life and venture out into West Marin, and put brush to canvas, with no one but the cows and grasses to tell me what to do or how to live my life.  This group has provided me with solace and encouragement over the years.  Over the past 2 years, I have worked with the Marin Arts Council and Art Works Downtown; two non-profits in Marin County, California.  At Marin Arts, I was responsible for bringing the Art on the Farm group to the Marin County Civic Center for an exhibit, which sold ten paintings and raised funds for Marin Organic's Interest free loan fund for farmers.  This year, we will have an exhibit in the winter at Art Works Downtown, where I work as the Communications Coordinator for web, print and "pr"(social media, e-news, press releases, etc).

Bringing any exhibit to a non-profit is a lot of work.  Behind the scenes, I have had to write a proposal to AWD and submit 40 jpg images.  The proposal had to be approved by a show committee and considered amongst other requests to exhibit.  I have had to listen to the needs of the non-profit, and come to terms with losing a staff member, and gaining a pile of new work and new fundraising challenges.  I hear about "Art on the Farm" versus more contemporary art, and even erotic art shows, street art and more.  There are so many people that all have a different idea of what art means to them.  I have had less time to paint, and more politics and emotions to deal with.

To me, "Art on the Farm" is far more than just a place to create art.  It is about people who have a passion for Marin, it's lands, and the people that work here.  As artists who enjoy painting, or photo-journaling, we can visit and connect with producers that sell their goods to our local restaurants, stores and at the Farmer's Markets.  We are in touch with our food source, and we are giving back to the producers and Marin Organic with our own passion.  We can educate the community with our work.  We share our art with the public, from kids to adults.  To me, this group has been the perfect place for me to share my skills and passion for 5 years as a volunteer, and as an artist.  Although I don't only paint landscapes and farm animals, it is still a place to connect with my community and be something larger than just an artist, trying to make a few bucks or a name for myself.  It is the most real connection to my community that I have found for an artist.  When we give back, we are forever changed.  We are now a part of the whole puzzle.

Welcome me in promoting "Art on the Farm" at Art Works Downtown, this November 30 - January 17.  This exhibit will raise funds for Marin Organic's Farm Field Studies Program.  Art Works Downtown, a 40,000 square ft. art center in downtown San Rafael, seeks to create a fun and educational exhibit that will give back to the community.  It will allow for kids, families and schools to visit the Art Center, and for collectors to make a contribution to the fundraiser.  Many well known, Marin landscape artists will participate in the fundraiser.  Two receptions in December 2012 and January 2013 will coincide with 2nd Fridays Art Walk.  For more information, please visit the website for Art Works Downtown, or Art on the Farm.