Art of the Heirloom: Cultural Seed Savers

art of heirloom bannerUpcoming Exhibitions:

January: Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY Opening reception January 25

February: Horticultural Society of New York, NYC. Opening reception February 15

March: Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA. March 2-10

unison gallery showAs seed savers, we know how to tell an heirloom seed’s genetic story. Grow it!  Our chosen medium is good soil combined with a keen eye to collect saved seeds. But what about a seed’s cultural story? What of the long history, the stories of the many hands that have passed it down, the lives of the people who selected it over the years for its flavor, beauty, or cultural significance? At the same time we have been losing the diversity in agriculture, we are losing the “culture” in agriculture as well.

Who do we turn to save these fertile stories? Artists. An artist’s medium, instead of soil, is paint, clay, or paper. An artist tools, instead of trowels, is a paintbrush, scissors, or press. Artists are cultural seed savers, selecting which kernels of beauty, color, and form they hope to keep alive and pass on for future generations. Artists tell compelling stories by creatively envisioning the lives of flowers and vegetables, farms and gardens. Art inspires agriculture.

That's why instead of using stock photos of generic vegetables we use original art on our seed packs. The artwork celebrates the importance of genetic and cultural diversity in our gardens. Our Art of the Heirloom Exhibition is your chance to see the original works commissioned for our seed packs and get up close and person with each artist's interpretation of their variety.

This year close to 200 artists applied for just 20 available varieties. Artists range from the up-and-coming to the world renowned and everything in between. This year’s mediums include watercolor, collage, oil, letter press, embroidery and more. We have museum quality fine art prints of a selection of the works availalbe for sale at the openings and online.

panther work in progressYou can read about a few of our artists here:

Jessica Pollak's Panther Edamame

Butternut Squash by Lora Shelley

To apply to be a Pack Artist, sign up for our Seeder’s Digest email where we’ll announce calls for art and send submission guidelines. To find out about hosting the exhibition or becoming an Art of the Heirloom sponsor email Ken.

This year's show is sponsoerd by Horticulture Magazine and Great Performances.