More than 20 artists recently joined together to create a new avenue of opportunity for the local art scene. Abraham and Heather van der Breggen opened up their farmyard on June 15 to host 'Art Farm'. Undeterred by the drive out of the city, 800 people attended the unique event on the sunny Saturday.
In fact, the farm atmosphere was the appeal for both vendors and patrons alike.
"It was so fabulous," said artist Heather van der Breggen, who had hosted a smaller-scale version of the concept in November, with an event called 'Convergence'. Since it was winter, artists set up displays of their works throughout the farm house. Most of the volunteer base that made Art Farm possible was comprised of artists that had already been involved in that first event.
Nonetheless, the expansion into the farmyard opened up a horizon of possibilities for an all-around ambience that has left the participating artists and patrons demanding an encore.
"The artists coming together and working together is just beautiful," said van der Breggen, admitting that she actually had more personal reasons for wanting to host the event.
"Although Abraham was brought up in Weyburn, when I was getting to know him I was so surprised at how 'city' he was," she reflected. "I was brought up in Calgary and I was less 'city' than he was. But I had that exposure - I had a horse at my grandpa's farm and I went there. I was exposed to the garden and the baking bread, all of it. His grandmother, however, lived in Holland, so he didn't have that farm life exposure."
Art Farm, therefore, offered the feeling of grandma's farm.
"Every time I looked over at that gate and there was a pile of kids standing there petting those horses, it made my heart sing," she said.
Artists were also discovering each others' works and networking about opportunities for their art.
"Nothing inspires us more than somebody getting inspired by us," said van der Breggen.
The event also gave artists exposure to people who don't ordinarily go check out the galleries or who would rather know they can purchase the pieces they are admiring.
Parents could browse the various displays while their kids were happily playing.
"Even when it was most packed, there's so much space that kids could still run on grass and weaving in between," she said, "and parents weren't afraid and I think that's really key."
"The kids were running free, jumping on bails, swinging in hammocks," she noted. "That kind of casual atmosphere is what I really wanted people to feel. The comments were amazing, it makes me so happy."
The ambience was indeed a sure success.
"People just came and hung out," said van der Breggen of the visitors, who each paid $2 admission to the farm. "They'd be sitting on the veranda, or on the theatre chairs, on the bails, hanging out and enjoying the music."
The house band The Road Cherries played throughout the day and there were also performances by magician Richy Roy, Troy Skog and the Two Young Piano Players, Ron Knox, Abe van der Breggen and Rickee-Lee Webster.
Since everybody loves to enjoy food with their entertainment, the Weyburn Humane Society held a barbeque and the Weyburn Group Home Society sold Tacos in a Bag. One of the vendors was brewing up beverages for sale as well.
Art Farm's calibre of exposure offered an especially uncommon opportunity for the younger artists. The youngest at the event were 10-year-old Tensie Iida and 13-year-old Tylan Charlton.
"Every time Tylan sold a painting, she ran over to me and hugged me," said Heather. "So it's exposing young artists to another part of the process, of not only creating art, but sharing that art - and getting some financial currency for it."
With the farm being only five minutes south of Weyburn, the event is sure to be repeated next year, including even more painters, sculptors, potters, metal artists, sketch artists, photographers and designers.