Storytelling through agricultural heritage
BRATTLEBORO- On Sunday, January 19, from 3 to 5 pm, the Vermont Folklife Center, Brattleboro Words Project, and 118 Elliot will present Brattleboro Farm Stories, a community storytelling event bringing together local farmers and residents to share personal reflections on our region’s agricultural heritage, at 118 Elliot Street.
Set among the backdrop of Richard Brown’s stunning photographic exhibit, “The Last of the Hill Farms: Echoes of Vermont’s Past,” Brattleboro Farm Stories will explore the connections between Vermont’s vital farming past and its living, breathing present.
The seeds for Brattleboro Farm Stories were planted at the opening reception for “The Last of the Hill Farms” exhibit at the 118 Elliot’s gallery in November. As local farmer Howie Prussack lingered among Brown’s photos, he and his friends talked about the world the images depicted—sharing stories about the farmers they remembered and reflecting on their own lives in agriculture. Inspired by the vivid reminiscences of Prussack and his fellow farmers, VFC Trustees Leslie Turpin and Andy Davis and associate director Andy Kolovos began to explore the creation of a public, local conversation—a dialogue between people and photographs—like the discussions shared between friends on that evening.
On the afternoon of January 19 local farmers will gather at 118 Elliot to spin stories of their own farming life, inspired by the presence of Brown’s images on display. Jay Bailey, of Brattleboro, Ashlyn Bristle, of West Brattleboro, Al Franklin, of Guilford, Dan MacArthur, of Marlboro, Helen Robb, of West Brattleboro, and others will kick off the story-telling. Audience members will be invited to build on the stories and images around them by adding stories of their own.
Andy Davis will moderate the storytelling and present a new ballad that he wrote on the life of Romaine Tenney, a farmer in the Ascutney area. Arthur Davis will also perform a recitation of “The Giving War” by Mac Parker.
Brown’s inspirational photograph exhibit will be on display at 118 Elliot through January.
The lives, landscapes, and time period Brown so lovingly captured are available for viewing through large and small format, finely detailed, photographic prints, which were hand-made by the artist.
“The Last of the Hill Farms” is a collection of moments born from the land and the people—then crafted by Brown’s careful hand with preparation, patience, and a bit of serendipity.
Gallery hours are most Saturday afternoons from 12 to 3 pm or by appointment. The exhibit closes the end of January.
For more information visit www.brattleborowords.org.