Friday, September 28, 2007

Joel says check out the Homegrown Mural


Big shout out to the 226 concert-goers who helped create our “homegrown” mural at Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival! Thank you and great job! For those of you who didn’t see the mural as it was being created on the afternoon of the show at Randall’s Island, check out the accompanying photos of the finished, two-panel, 16’x4’ mural and the “Make Your Mark” tent where the artists did their work.

Special thanks go to Groundswell Community Mural Project of Brooklyn, who oversaw the whole project and made it possible. Groundswell prepared a sketch of pastoral scene across two big canvases, and then provided paints, paintbrushes, and a team of friendly artists to manage the project and encourage concert-goers to show their homegrown creativity.
The results are spectacular, with the sun rising over a scene of rolling hillside farmland, all brilliantly colored with signatures, messages, flowers, peace signs, hands, mushrooms, barns, silos, crops, animals, and much more. In fact, there was not enough canvas to accommodate all the concert-goer artists who wanted to take part, so people started body-painting as a way to express their homegrown spirit.

Eduardo Rabel, the lead artist for the Groundswell crew, said in an email that:
"facilitating this mural was certainly a unique experience for me. The openness of the audience to participating was a real revelation and was quite refreshing. Usually I work with urban youth who come from less privileged backgrounds and who have subsequently been under-educated and/or mis-educated by the NYC school system. Such kids tend to have a lot of inhibitions when it comes to expressing themselves creatively... In contrast, the self-selected audience at Farm Aid did not need much encouragement at all... Most of them clearly had a different type of upbringing and education that encouraged them to be unafraid to express themselves. They were mostly adults, and for the most part they were very self-confident as well as conscious of wanting to support a good cause. Many were also very informed and passionate about specific issues such as organic farming, global warming, the war in Iraq, etc. Again, very refreshing."


Lizzie Nanut, one of my team of volunteer artists, summed it up well when she said, "There was a lot of love put into that mural!"

Farm Aid had not attempted this kind of project at a concert before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect of our crowd. But people came through with flying colors, and those colors are now hanging from the balcony here in our office. Look for another “homegrown” art project at next year’s show!

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