YoungArts finalist

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Keith Clougherty was mentioned in the Thursday Miami Herald Neighbors section as one of the YoungArts finalists. Congrats, Keith!

You can read the article online here. Keith is mentioned on the second page of the article.

Bottles in ashes

•December 30, 2009 • 2 Comments

Taken the morning after our bottle workshop with John DeFaro, and big bonfire. The shattered and melted bottles in the ashes looked bleak and ancient, all the life gone out of them. Apocalyptic. Whatever losses or griefs or sad things we burned up in them are completely destroyed and released back into Great Beyond…

bottles 1

bottles 2

bottles 3

bottles 4

bottles 5

Fruit and Spice Park

•December 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment


I didn’t shoot that many stills in the park, but the annatto was compelling.

And I love the big, lush, extravagant blossom of the cannonball tree. Reminds me kind of a magnolia.

cannonball tree blossom

Day Three

•December 27, 2009 • 2 Comments

Day Three: December 21st
We began the morning with scrambled eggs mixed with green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and for the non vegetarians, turkey bacon. Dee-licious.

At 10:00ish we packed into our van and Marian’s car and road the few miles to the Fruit and Spice Park. We had hoped to get a tour from Margie, the owner of Bee Heaven Farm, but she was off getting a new refrigerator truck for the farm. If that failed, the plan was to take a tour given by the Park on a tram, but the tour didn’t start for another hour, which would put us behind by a while. So instead, I, Rachel, gave a tour. I don’t know quite how good it was, but Marian said it was great, so I guess that’s something. I told all I knew, which was a lot considering I practically grew up there. Anyway, we found a few things to taste, and a few other things to use for artwork. Annatto (or Bixa or Achiote) was a favorite.

discovering annatto

It was originally used as a food dye, but it serves well as a natural dye, especially for face-painting!

Francis and Elise paint their face

tasting Canistel

Another great thing we tried was Canistel, or Egg Fruit, which we actually grow on the farm and sell at the market.

Hanging out in the bamboo was also a treat.

in the bamboo

goats eating scraps

Around about 12ish we hightailed it to Robert is Here and bought milkshakes. We each ordered a different flavour: GuanĂ¡bana,

Black Sapote Strawberry, Pineapple Coconut, Mamey, Keylime, Keylime Strawberry, Orange…etc.

Along with them, we ordered boiled peanuts. We all sat outside to eat them in the chilly air with Robert is Here’s collection of animals chewing on food scraps.

Jacob participating in part of Elise's photoshoot

We headed home with happy bellies and worked on some art.

Day Two

•December 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Day Two: December 20th

We woke up pretty early to continue setting up for Farm Day. We made a bunch of bagels for breakfast and started working on a box that would become a prop for kids to take pictures with. We made and put up signs along the street directing people around. Whenever there was a spare minute, art was made. Once people started to arrive, the students worked on food preparation making things like: cracker, cheese, fish, and avocado appetizers; roasted corn; roasted squash and zucchinis. (The corn, along with other food used for the students, was graciously donated by Robert at Robert is Here–THANK YOU!!)

Meanwhile, our guest artist, John DeFaro arrived. As soon as the farm emptied out a bit, we began carrying large green Sake bottles to the fire, where we all gathered. John was very secretive about the project and sent off the students with pieces of paper and sharpies to write or draw about things they would like to let go of. Interestingly, a lot of the bystanders ended up participating too, which was fine because there were plenty of bottles.

While everyone was writing their deep dark regrets on white paper with colorful pens, John was putting sparklers into all the bottles.

When everyone was done writing or drawing, they stuffed their papers into the bottles. Then the decoration began. We could decorate our bottles with anything we found lying around and with colorful wire that John brought.

Once the sun started to go down and there was a little crowd around the fire, we made a circle with the burning firewood and we all placed our bottles within the circle.

Since I hadn’t gotten a chance to try burning the bottles as we had originally planned due to terrible weather, we had no idea what was going to happen with he bottles once they began heating up. The bottles started popping randomly within the fire ring. Some of the sparklers caught on fire and lit up the bottles so the notes inside were visible. Others didn’t crack and the notes just started smoking.

The last part of the piece was to used gathered rocks to throw at our bottles, ensuring that our messages were caught on fire and that our bottles were destroyed. And then we ended up piling up even more wood and making a raging fire and cooking more corn.

Some of the students worked on their artwork that night.

Pretend I posted this on Day One

•December 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Day one: Saturday December 19th

Everyone arrived at around 8:40ish, which was great and surprisingly no one got lost. There was a lot of carpooling and everyone parked their cars by the stables, close to where we were camping out and out of the way of the farming equipment.

Once everyone arrived I, Rachel, gave an in depth tour of the farm, which included meeting all the workers, learning why we plant things where we plant them, and tasting a few strange morsels like assorted edible flowers and little Clementines.

Lunch was made, grumpily enough, by Redland Subs. Grumpy only because we didn’t call ahead with out orders, but we all learned that even in a bad mood, they make a MEEEAN sandwich. (You should all try their pizzas too–they deliver)

We all had a wondrous time putting up tents and such. We ended up only using two giant tents: one for the boys and one for the girls.

A few people went off to pull weeds, which was an experience. The rest of us started setting up for Farm Day on Sunday. We walked the neighborhood handing out flyers inviting people to come the next day.

That night we decided to chop up a bunch of fresh veggies–Eggplant, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Corn, and Bell Peppers–and roast them over the campfire, since it was a chili night.

It starts today…

•December 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Alright, so as I type, students are traveling from all over the Miami area to come to the farm for 5 days.

The weather couldn’t be any better. The last two days have been stormy and dreary, even called “Edgar Allen Poe” days by a friend of mine. Luckily, around 9 last night, it all cleared up. We’re waiting for the sun to dry out the earth so we can pitch some tents for the night. And imagine the temperature: low is 50 degrees and high is 74–AMAZING. Florida has been the hottest area in the USA and it was starting to get cumbersome–sweating in the winter: craziness…

Today, we’re going to have a little orientation and tour after everyone arrives, help out the wwoofers with picking and packing salad greens, lunch at a local subshop, and time to work on art. Should be a full day!!

I’ll hopefully be posting later with photos and to fill in the details of the day.


Our Next Session

•November 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The next session of Art Loves Farms has officially been planned for December 19-23, 2009.

We’ve gotten a local artist, John DeFaro, to come out to do a demonstration for the students. So far, we have a fuzzy picture about what exactly we’re going to do, but whatever it is, it’s going to be great and different and will hopefully open the minds of our participants, which is always good for creating interesting art! He says it’s a project we’re calling “Implosion”. Check out his spectacular work (love his sculptures) here:

We have a total of seven entries for this session. They’re all seniors, which is exciting, and they all seem to be super excited about it. Here’s an overview of what they’re thinking of doing.

Chris Bender: wants to work large from objects found on the farm; also wants to gather inspiration for his fashion work

Elise Fernandez: (repeat from last session); wants to experiment with photography and her Minolta 35mm; she also plans on WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in the future

Adrian Pinagel: (repeat from last session); wants to continue work with oil paints and detailed sketches of plants he encounters

Talisa Almonte: wants to work on paintings of installations that she will construct out of objects on the farm

Keith Clougherty: wants to work on stream-of-consciousness-like writing; he also wants to work on the farm

Jacob Dakar: (repeat from last session); wants to experiment with “egg carving” using eggs shells from eggs we eat for breakfast and wood carving using scraps from the farm

Andrea Fabry: wants to work with elements from the farm creating sort of sculptural works, focusing on color and texture

As you can see, I’ve gotten quite an array of applicants. I’m getting excited, Marian’s excited, the students are excited, and it’s all good!


Hello from BHF

•October 3, 2009 • 2 Comments

This is a brand spankin new blog about Art Loves Farms/Art Loves Food, a small project created by Marian Wertalka, Rachel Pikarsky, and Margie Pikarsky, based on a proposal by Marian and Nerissa Street. Our goal is to educate young local art students about eating, buying, and supporting local food and the farmers who grow it.

Basically, we collect applications from students interested in attending the artist residency, located at Bee Heaven Farm. The few selected students then come to the farm to live and work for three to four days. During this time, they will eat wonderful food, visit interesting places in the local agriculture scene, and create provocative artwork inspired by their time on the farm.

The first session of Art Loves Farms was May 22-25, 2009, after Marian approached Rachel about rewriting a grant proposal that Nerissa and Marian had written. Rachel ran with the idea, created and reviewed all the applications, and scheduled all the tours and events. Margaret Pikarsky, head of Bee Heaven Farm, bought food for the participants and drove them to the tour locations.

The tour schedule consisted of three local agriculture based places:

The Fruit and Spice Park–for a tour and a taste of strange and wonderful plants and fruits. This was meant to show a broad range of all the diverse plants and crops that could be grown in South Florida.

Possum Trot Nursery–to show an actual local farmer’s take on what is reasonable to grow. He also grows a vast array of plants that the students may recognize from their trip to The Fruit and Spice Park, so it is an interesting thing to see the plants actually put into action. Also, Robert Barnum, the owner, is a chef and he prepared a wonderful lunch for the students.

Robert Is Here–a local fruit and vegetable stand where students can see the crops they’ve seen throughout the day being packaged and sold. Also, this is a chance for them to buy a delicious world renowned milkshake made from local fruits.

After this the students return to the farm to relax and create art. The media is not limited to paint and students are encouraged to try something new, like creative writing, music writing, sculpture, or even performance art.

Here are a few pictures from our last session in which seven students participated:

Elise Fernandez: made a sculpture with grape twigs and a piece of wood she carved

Julian Rendon: worked on a piece that was meant to bridge his current life to his future life

Jessica Howard: painted a portrait of the resident horse, Bali, on a piece of cardboard she found on the farm

Jacob Dakar: took pictures of chickens meant to glorify and showcase their prehistoric image

Adrian Pinagel: did oil paintings of the night sky through foilage

Victoria Martinotti: did small oil paintings of a select area of the farm throughout the day focusing on the change of light–She also worked on a painting of a hand

Scott Zenteno: did a series of paintings of tractors

Here are some pictures! :D