On September 25th Warwick Valley Farm Aid 2011 raised over 50,000 to be distributed equally to Warwick farmers who applied for assistance. Farmers in Warwick were severely affected by Hurricane Irene and its subsequent flooding.
Less than two weeks prior to Farm Aid I met with local Warwick artists Ron Gee, Heidi Lanino Bilezikian, Dan Mack and myself to discuss with Jane Hamburger, former principal of Pine Island Elementary, on how we could incorporate the visual arts into Farm Aid. Jane had the idea of creating a mural with the community and then using that mural as a backdrop for the FarmAid Concert. Furthermore, the mural has now been broken down into smaller works of art, framed and will be presented and given as gifts to the municipalities that helped during the floods. The presentation will take place on Oct. 13th, 2011 at the Town Board Meeting.
Through our brainstorming process we developed the idea to focus on the beauty of water, using large plywood panels as our base, tempra paint and collage. Local businesses donated the material for mural. Prior to the event Ron Gee gathered materials, prepared and painted swirls of blues on the panels to set a template that impied the movement of water.
In the courtyard of the Warwick Valley High School event attendees flowed through the doors and began to create with material laid out on four long tables that were assembled with paints, brushes, water and paper. There were kids as young as two, parents, teenagers and seniors all painting side by side. There was a constant flow of people all day.
Local artists Karen Decher, Lisa Cullen, Tyler Cullen and Nicole Heller also volunteered to help carefully cut and assemble the painted paper into collage onto the boards with glue. A half hour before the concert the mural was carried onto the stage and hung on cables other volunteers/custodians had put in place.
The final piece was electric! With the spotlights on it, it worked perfectly with the music, evoking waves of sound.