University artists find inspiration at Dartmouth farm

Dec 2, 2017

When Devin Messenger toured Alderbrook Farm several months ago, two images stuck in his mind: apples for sale at the farm stand, and two chickens he watched fighting over a worm.

Those two images are the inspiration for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student’s sculpture, called “Worm Apple Pie Anyone?” It features an apple with a hidden worm inside, which currently hangs over the apple display inside the farm’s food stand.

“It’s a funny joke people can easily connect to,” Messenger said of his inspiration. “I wanted that [joking] type of sculpture instead of something super serious.”

Messenger was one of 14 sculpture students with artwork currently on display throughout Alderbrook Farm as part of his class’s art exhibition. The goal, explained sculpture professor Eric Lintala, was to produce artwork that tied together the farm and a sense of community.

“This is a great opportunity for students to show their works outside of the university environment,” Lintala said.

Earlier in the semester, students went on a tour of the farm, met with its owners and farmers, and got to meet the farm animals up close. From there, each student found their inspiration to produce a sculpture piece symbolizing the farm and its connection to the community.

“They interpreted their experience here and everyone responded in some form,” Lintala said.

While some students, like Messenger, took the opportunity to spread light-hearted humor, others found powerful messages tied to current events to highlight.

Stephanie Mysiuk-Bissen’s steel sculpture, called “Decay,” is of an animal which begins as a living animal, but as the sculpture progresses from head to tail the living features fade away to bones and symbols of decay. She was inspired by both her visit to the farm and her passion for the environment.

“It shows our impact on the environment,” Mysiuk-Bissen said. “I wanted to make a comment on the environment.”

Mysiuk-Bissen added that the message is especially important now due to inaction on climate change in the White House.

The art exhibition will remain open until December 15 at Alderbrook Farm, 1213 Russells Mills Road. The farm is open daily Monday-Saturday until 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday until 5 p.m. A map of the sculpture exhibits can be picked up at the farm stand.