orkestai farm is a non profit ecological farm exploring the relationships between ability, ecology, agriculture and art in oyster bay, new york. orkestai runs an educational farm apprenticeship for adults, including those with autism and other developmental disabilities.
silent music (friendly spaceships) 2015, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 16
kara smith is an artist and educator living and working in the berkshires. with a masters in art education she currently works for community access to the arts and manages CATA direct, a crafts cooperative. she took the time to answer a few questions we had below.
silent music (overcurrent release) 2016, gouache & gold leaf on slate, 25” x 15”
what was the inspiration behind your featured painting?
this painting titled friendly spaceships is from a series of work i call silent music. i began these paintings after i discovered a collection of player piano music rolls. i have been experimenting with these rolls of silent music using stenciling to visually transcribe the music.
silent music (suspension) 2014, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 48”
please tell us a little about your role at community access to the arts.
community access to the arts, is an non-profit art organization that nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities. through shared experiences in the visual and performing arts we provide multi-week intensive workshops to teens and adults with disabilities. i teach, curate and coordinate our visual art exhibits, and support the many administrative variables that go into providing over 1,000 workshops a year. i also manage our weekly crafts cooperative to create products that are sold in retailers throughout the berkshires and beyond.
silent music (harvest moon) 2015 pyrography on wood panel, 24’ x 24”
could you discuss the therapeutic qualities art yields for your students?
i’ve learned that all my students come to the table with their own unique set of abilities. i find that they benefit from a community setting, working side-by-side, connecting with, and learning from other students. it can be gratifying, calming and meditative to lose yourself in the exploration of a material or artmaking technique. we’ve all had those experiences doing what we love, when times slips away, and you look up to discover an hour has gone by in the blink of an eye. for many students, this ability to slow life down, and get lost in a moment, can be very beneficial. add to that, the sense of accomplishment you feel when you see a project through to it’s end. i think the therapeutic qualities of artmaking shouldn’t be overlooked. i am always excited to see the satisfaction on the face of a student who has created something they are truly proud of.
silent music (horses) 2015, liquid graphite on kitikata paper, 18” x 24"
100% of proceeds from the sales of these totes are donated to orkestai farm.