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Abandoned Rural America Exhibit Opens September 16 at Museum of Agriculture

August 29, 2017

A solitary chimney, covered with vines and weeds, stands as a silent memory of days gone by.  A barn with one end of its tin roof collapsed will never again relive its glory days when it flourished as a center of agricultural activity.

These are the types of images that will be on display when the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village showcases a gallery exhibit and outreach program titled Abandoned Rural America.  It begins with a reception at 2 p.m. on Sept. 16 in the Museum Gallery.  The reception is open to the public at no charge.

Many of the participating artists will travel from across the state to participate in a gallery talk, give tours, and answer questions about their work. For a taste of what the exhibit will offer, visit www.abandonedruralamerica.com.

“Swamp Daisies,” one of the Abandoned Rural America musical partners, will be featured in a performance during the reception.  Several local artists will occupy space in the exhibit, and showcase their work on rural Wiregrass Georgia as guests of Abandoned Rural America.

“Created in 2011 by a group of Georgia artists that has now grown to include the works of over 20, this exhibition pays homage to the American small family farmers, their dedication to the land and their craft that has fed countless people,” said Polly Huff, curator and assistant director at the GMA. “The exhibition includes photography, paintings, drawings, and various 3-D objects, as well as written word, video, and traditional music.”

The changing face of America has sprouted numerous abandoned farms and rural houses since it was first settled.  Abandoned farmhouses dot the countryside everywhere in rural America; yet most are almost totally ignored by those who pass by their ruins.  Left to decay by their former owners, these structures eventually deteriorate into the landscape.  Often the chimneys are left standing for decades after the main structure is gone.

“At one time, someone built the fences and outbuildings, tended the gardens, farmed the fields, and raised the farm animals for a living,” Huff said.  “They are gone now, leaving behind the remnants of their lives, the spirit of their passing. What remains are little bits to remind us that people once lived there.

“The various works in this exhibition represent and honor the farmland and houses that were once the dream of a family, now changed forever.”

The Abandoned Rural America Exhibition and Outreach can be viewed by Museum visitors on Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Sept. 19.  The exhibit will remain on display at the GMA Gallery until Jan. 17, 2018.  It will be included in the regular daily admission ticket to the GMA and will be free of charge to visitors with a valid season pass.  Several other outreach events, demonstrations, and master classes will accompany the exhibition.

For more information on this or any other GMA exhibit, interested persons can contact Huff at phuff@abac.edu.
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