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August 1, 2020

Wrapping up, and reflecting on my time at the farm, Eli Kauffman, BFA Painting 21′

by elikauffman
Still of James introducing the farm from the virtual tour video.

I have just completed my last few days down at the Green Phoenix Farm, and am following though on a few last minute elements of the project that need finishing touches. In the past two weeks I have spent less time working on the murals, and much more time editing the virtual tour video. Though it is now completed, Wasatch Community Gardens has yet to post the video, because we are still evaluating the best context to show it in. The intended impact is on potential donors and volunteers who show an active interest in learning more about the farm, but there is possibility for the virtual tour to have a larger impact. Overall I am pleased with the film and feel that it depicts the lively energy of the farm as best it can. James, Julie, and Cher did a wonderful job speaking on camera, and their personalities showed through even in the shorter clips.

Top: Still of Cher and myself walking through the farm. Bottom: Still of Cher feeding the chickens.

Over the past week many members of the team including Cher and Julie have had to miss work for personal reasons, so unfortunately only a few members of Wasatch Community Gardens have seen the final film so far. Though it was well received by them, I am still hoping to show the rest of the team at some point and see what they think. Because so much of the team was absent from the farm recently, it has been a quiet end to my time here. Though it hasn’t been the ending I expected, reflecting on the past 9 weeks I can proudly say that in collaboration with Wasatch Community Gardens, I have been able to accomplish all of the goals set out in our proposal.

Top: A photo of the first mural now that the crops have grown in around it. Bottom: The other side of the Solar Shed, completed last week.

Compared to when I started the fellowship, I now know so much more about what it means to make public art and work with a community to create visuals that are significant to them. The murals I have been able to do on the farm are nothing like the paintings that I make in my personal practice, but learning that those can be separate has been a positive. I have also learned so much more about planting, harvesting, and plant identification. These new skills will affect my artistic and personal growth more than I even expected initially.

Photo from harvesting Mizuna seeds in my section of the farm.

Though I will still be able to occasionally go volunteer or visit the farm, my time there will be much more limited. I am still looking forward to the possibility of working on more public art on Wasatch Community Gardens’ educational campus in the future, but that wouldn’t happen until construction is finished a while from now. After having gotten to know the Green Phoenix Farm so well, I am still amazed at their impact and how many people from different areas of the city they are able to feed. I have so much admiration for the work that they do and their consistent dedication to it. I can only hope that my artistic contribution will help to better reflect their mission and personality to visitors of the farm in the future.

Weekly shares from the farm waiting to be picked up by community members.


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