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Action on the Plains: Art in Rural Environments

Farmers & Ranchers — Growing up in Changing Landscapes

Farmers & Ranchers is a portrait of young people in transition. Teenagers from the United States and the Netherlands were asked to consider their futures in farming and ranching. Both watch as their landscapes undergo tremendous change: sea dikes are rising in Fryslân, while the Plains of Colorado suffer drought. A two-year documentary project, Farmers & Ranchers depicts how these changing landscapes are impacting the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
The project was initiated by the M12 Collective and Dutch artist Wapke Feenstra, founder of MyVillages, whose work explores the evolving relationship between rural and urban places and culture. In 2012, M12 and Feenstra, met with a group of students in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program at Deer Trail High School in Eastern Colorado. Excited to share their rural experiences, an media exchange project began between the teens from Colorado and like-minded youth from the Dutch province of Fryslân. The Dutch students visited Deer Trail in July 2013 and the FFA class traveled to Holland in March 2014. The young Dutch and American farmers and ranchers have shared photographs of their homes, their family farms, and their respective regions. These images have become a visual language used to share their experiences—from milking horses to rodeo barrel racing. The film documents the exchange and provides an alternative peek at rural living, where changes in the landscape mirror transitions in the lives of young people, in their families, and on their farms and ranches.

October 17–November 19, 2014
Exhibition on view at The Feed Store
350 W. Front St., Byers, Colorado 80103
By appointment:

Friday, October 17th, 5–8:30 pm
Community Dinner and Presentation at The Feed Store in Byers, Colorado
Rocky mountain oyster fry and screening of Farmers & Ranchers begins at 6:00pm
Special guests: FFA group from Deer Trail High School and agriculture students from Fryslân

November 21, 2014–February 15, 2015
Exhibition on view at the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

January 2015
Documentary will be aired by Omrop Fryslân and Dutch National TV

Farmers & Ranchers: Growing Up in Changing Landscapes
Directed by Wapke Feenstra
Produced by the M12 Collective and Wapke Feenstra
Filmed and Edited by Kim Shively
Cameraman (Fryslân), Gerko Jonker
Supported by Nordwin College, Leeuwarden; and Deer Trail High School

Farmers & Ranchers is generously funded by The National Endowment for the Arts, the Gates Family Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Stichting Doen, Tijl Fonds (BPC), The German Federal Cultural Foundation, Omrop Fryslân, and the Fries Museum.

Action on the Plains is a collaborative program developed by M12 to support experiential art-making activities on the Eastern Colorado High Plains. Guest artists are invited to work with M12 on conceptualizing and creating new work with citizens in and around Washington County, Colorado. M12 selects creative practitioners whose work is on the cutting edge of an ever-expanding international dialogue surrounding art practices in rural environments. The Action on the Plains projects add new perspectives to regional cultural production and are specifically designed to resonate with rural life in Colorado and beyond.

The M12 Collective creates interdisciplinary site-based art works, research projects, and education and outreach programs. Working in the fields of sculpture, architecture, and public art and design, we favor projects that are centered in rural areas and which can be developed through dialogical and collaborative approaches. Our projects explore community identity and the value of often under-represented rural communities and their surrounding landscapes. We have a holistic organizational philosophy that fuses creative practice, cultural institutionality and education. We are based in Byers, Colorado and also operate a rural field office and land-based project site that is located 2 miles south of the HWY 71 and 36 intersection in Last Chance, Colorado.

The Action on the Plains program is generously funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Gates Family Foundation. M12 extends our gratitude to our community collaborators including; Ms. Emily Fickbohm, FFA Advisor, Deer Trail High School; The Washington County Colorado Commissioners; Byers America; The Deer Trail Pioneer Historical Society and Museum; and Joe Turecek.



Our mailing address is:
PO Box 243
M12 Studio
Big Springs, NE 69122-0243

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