Have I Told You About the Farm?
“Why Alabama? What is The Farm?”
I find myself sharing my plans for July with artists over coffee or cocktails, giddy and nervous like a new parent. I have cave photos at the ready on my phone to spring on unsuspecting friends who ask what I’m up to. So, have I told you about The Farm?
The Farm is a home base and gathering ground for artists to practice their craft and create new works. A transformative place for those of us who need time to tend to an idea, a script, a project.
The land has been passed down through my family since the original homesteaders settled there at the foot of Sand Mountain. In the 1950s, a portion was developed into Sequoyah Caverns, a tourist destination for visitors roadtripping on Highway 11 on their way to Florida. Walking paths were sculpted out of the cave floors and electric lighting run through ¾ of a mile of cave system for the guided tours. There was also a campground with 80 sites, in-ground pool, bathhouse, and camp store.
The cave is part of a larger limestone system filled with active formations and several pools. It is home to a few Little Brown Bats and remains a nice 60 degrees year round. My favorite spot is the ceiling encrusted with sea fossils.
The family has since closed the tourism business and has returned to farming the land. However, the buildings and facilities that once made up Sequoyah Caverns still remain structurally sound and full of potential.
This property has been graciously offered to August Corps to renovate and redesign into a facility to house artists in residency and studios for the development of new work.
We are building something new. We are asking, “How do we live and work as artists in this world?”
We are building not only a home for August Corps, but a gathering place for other artists to hold workshops, rehearsals, residencies, and site-specific performances. Our vision is to create a space that invigorates the artist’s craft and inspires new works.
This July, August Corps is in residency at The Farm to workshop Echo as part of our Summer Intensive 2019.
Echo is a new, collaboratively written play based on the myth of Echo and Narcissus from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. In the myth, Echo’s bones harden in to stone as her body dissolves. She becomes a “voice amongst the stones” and hides herself away in caverns. Inspired by the stones, we have chosen to build the piece in the Cave at The Farm. The natural architecture of the caverns will serve as the set for the performance. More on that to come.
My personal answer to “How do we live and work as artists in this world?” is to envision artistry in the world beyond New York. Perhaps if I want an idea to grow, it needs to be planted in soil that allows experimentation, failure, and the space for growth to occur.
We are preparing the ground where that can happen.