There is a change that happens at the farm and it is magic. Perhaps it is the millions of lightning bugs that appear in the early evening and flit over the fields or hang in the apple trees or an unrestricted view of the Milky Way that contributes to the magic. It is certain that magic happens at the gathering of students around the campfire listening to Larry reading poetry, singing Beatle songs with Sean, or discussing the issues of finding a career path that feeds the soul as well as the body.
The magic happens at the wonder at being able to express oneself so much more clearly and deeply than ever expected during our morning writing circle. The sharing around this circle serves to allow each person to know others at a depth that is rarely experienced.
All this is coupled with the experience of living in a caring community where the tasks of living are shared. The houses, the studios, and the yard are all maintained by the students. Everyone is expected to cook at one time or another, with the inexperienced paired with the experienced.
It is a village. It is a village that generates creative thought and creative expression. It is as diverse the 18-year-old and the wise but agile senior. Race, creed, or economic situation is not a factor. The commonality found within this village is the adventurous spirit and a search for a way to express oneself in an art form.
A support system has developed within this community. I have seen friendships develop, and romances, too. Many portfolios have been enriched that have been submitted to schools and universities both for undergraduate and for graduate studies. Time after time I have seen self-confidence develop and with that the awareness of each person’s strengths and interests.
Most of all, these people, all young in age or attitude, have become better students. They have become more likely to see the whole picture and to take responsibility for the environment and for themselves. They recognize the arts as necessary to an entrance into the human soul.
I am privileged to be able to be a catalyst for these gatherings at Airy Knoll Farm. The riches never cease. We are grateful to all those who help make this happen.
Elizabeth Ross, Director
Airy Knoll Arts Project