The cold weather placed a slight damper upon the Chicken Farm Art Center's new year opening festivities this weekend. The walkways weren’t bustling as usual; however, inside the homes and shops, there was a buzz of activity.
During the Chicken Farm's first opening of 2016, Morgan Grasham, a local artist and resident of the Chicken Farm, reminisced on the culture and atmosphere of the Chicken Farm.
“It’s a very interesting place to live," the artist stated. "Living with other artists and being surrounded by it all the time, it’s totally different than living somewhere else and visiting. You’re surrounded by creative energies all the time. But it is also a really laid back atmosphere; it’s just the culture.”
For people who made art part of their New Year's resolution, the first Saturdays of each month are the perfect time to experience the spirit of creativity. The Chicken Farm Art Center features the works of invited artists; the doors of the resident artists’ studios are open; the Chicken Pickers gather in a circle of local musicians; the blacksmiths and metal artists set up shop in the forge; and kids get free clay. As painters, potters, stone and wood carvers, jewelry makers and other artists do their thing, The Silo House Restaurant serves lunch.
Grasham explained, “On first Saturdays we always have, unless it’s too cold, free pottery throwing lessons.”
In fact, a child who attended the Chicken Farm Art Center showed an interest on how free pottery throwing worked, so Grasham began her lesson.
“Well, Eric makes it on a wheel. The wheel spins, [and] he throws clay on it. It’s called throwing pottery right? He throws it on there and then pushes it around with his hands."
As she continued to explain the process to the child, Grasham demonstrated the process with her hands.
"It gets turned into a cup or a bowl and then we put it in a giant oven that bakes it at about 2000 degrees," the artist continued.
In addition to giving lessons on clay throwing, Grasham explained the events the Chicken Farm hosts for its guests, and what people can expect for the new year.
”On the first Saturday, we have coloring stations, and sometimes we’ll do specific activities for the month. Like, on December's first Saturday and Thanksgiving open house, we had the kids paint a Christmas tree and then they all colored ornaments to place on the tree. In October, we had a pumpkin piñata.”
For 2016, the Center's artists are looking to do more family activities, especially for the kids.
“We’ve really enjoyed having kid activities and [are] looking to do more things like that," Grasham said. "The Chicken Farm is the best place to go for family activities. For the 4th of July, we hosted a sparkle spectacular. We bought hundreds of sparklers and gave [them to the] kids. We lit them together to celebrate the 4th of July and to raise our flag to the military. The kids love it. Families can come here and do something together and it doesn’t cost them any money. You go anywhere else and it costs you money to do something with your kids. Here there is free art stuff to do, [and] free creative activities for your kids. Parents get involved too. Everyone gets involved.”
Music has also become a regular at the Center and the Chicken Pickers also have a seasonal concert in the courtyard on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. when the weather is nice. The concert is free, so art and music enthusiasts can bring a lawn chair, a cooler and picnic, or the restaurant at the Center offers hamburgers during the evening.
The Chicken Farm Art Center hosts annual and monthly events and has grown into a premier West Texas/San Angelo attraction.
For more information on what the Center will offer in 2016, visit http://www.chickenfarmartcenter.com/.