Abandoned Rural America
- Visual Arts
Artist Peter Muzyka has been documenting the change of rural landscapes over the past forty years. After growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, he began noticing old abandoned farms and barns, and the visuals have stuck with him. These memories have been the catalyst for many of his egg tempera paintings and ink drawings. He enlisted the help of a few artist friends – Don Jolley, Blake Smith, and Charles St. John Dyer – to make the first exhibit happen at the Allied Arts’ John Marlor House in Milledgeville, Georgia at the beginning of 2012. Later that year, photographer Lisa Wheeler joined the exhibit for the second show at Steffen Thomas Museum of Art in Buckhead, Georgia. STMA hosted 50 students on a field trip to the exhibit from Union Point Elementary STEAM Academy and Muzyka was moved by the interest the students have in their rural heritage. Later that year, folk artist Eugene Swain and several writers from Greensboro Arts Alliance joined the group to prepare for the next show in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia during the Summer 2013 Exhibit.
Abandoned Rural America is a multi-artist multi-media exhibition documenting the transition of America’s small family farms. This group exhibit features paintings, photographs, pottery, models and a film chronicling the changing face of rural America as small family farms dwindle in number and are reclaimed by the forces of nature. This evolving project is an artistic endeavor to record the vacant farmhouses, falling down barns, rusting farm implements, and fallow fields falling into neglect before eventually being lost to urban encroachment.
Presently, we are promoting our fourth exhibition to be held at Georgia’s Monroe Art Guild’s historic post office venue. Potters, Elizabeth Collins and Chuck Haines, and plain air painter, Sam Traina, will be joining our award-winning artists to bring their personal perspectives to the ARA theme and reveal unique stories underlying the inexorable changing landscape of rural America. The future holds a fifth anniversary celebration at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, Georgia scheduled for Summer 2017. Meanwhile, we intend to hold two major exhibits per year and continue our “Taste of ARA” mini exhibits to promote them. We also intend to expand our 72-page companion book and video. We have orders for the hardcover edition of our book and we intend to expand our video with more interviews. Donations exceeding our fundraising goal will be used for outreach to students and producing an educational video worthy of broadcasting on Public Television stations or the History Channel.
Our group of artists need funding to prepare and print our promotional materials, travel to abandoned farms for photography and to interview farmers etc. for the video and book, professional assistance in upgrading the ARA video for broadcast on PBS and other public access programs, set-up of our exhibitions, etc. We need a minimum of $2,500 to fund the Nov.-Dec. exhibition as is. With funding that exceeds this goal, we will be better positioned to promote and exhibit the work outside Georgia. Thank you for your consideration of our Abandoned Rural America project.
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