I'm an OFARian now and I've tasted Gay Bread

OFAR - Super sweet and simple
and my home for the next three weeks
Here I am, all happy and excited,
in front of the Free Speech Monument in Charlottesville
Almost 9 months ago I was contacted by Jon Henry who had recently started the Old Furnace Arts Residency out of his home in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  He was letting me know my application was successful and that I was invited to come up and be a part of Old Furnace Arts Residency, which I already call OFAR.

Charlottesville's Amtrak station is a lot sweeter than Atlanta's, also, lots of old people and lots of White People
Fast forward to June 2nd and I'm still frantically running errands trying to get together everything I might need for a threeish week stay.  I'm a terrible packer and my plans/project ideas are still molding themselves into a concrete set of work, so knowing what to bring and not to bring in terms of supplies was challenging.  Luckily, I didn't have to worry too much about baggage as I had planned to take the train.  I've never taken an American train, and it was pretty uneventful.  You hop on at 8pm (which really turned into 9pm), they turn out the lights sometime after 10 pm, you sort of sleep till about 6 am, and get off around 7 am in Charlottesville (or, you hop off at whatever time your stop occurs and you can go all the way to New York).  Unlike airplanes, Trains don't seem to care what you bring one, whether it's checked or carry on, so the weird knives, carving tools, and other supplies I brought aren't questioned.  Fairly simple.
My Room at OFAR

I've never been to an out of state residency, and my longest time away from home at a residency has been a little less than two weeks.  One more week might not seem like much of a difference, but I feel that it probably will be.  My plan here is to continue work on small projects and pieces that I have been developing/producing for the past 6 months and that work will include research and production.  More importantly, OFAR encourages social engagement or community engagement aspects to the projects/artistic practices that occur here and so I am hoping to work and collaborate with several folks from different organizations and institutions around Harrisonburg, namely The Collins Center, SONG, and the Center for Justice and Peacekeeping, along with a local Domestic Violence Shelter.  These contacts already look fairly promising, so I am pretty excited and nervous to get started with each space.

Past Artist's work from the OFAR Archive
(I think)
Past Artist's work from the OFAR Archive
(I think)

Past Artist's work from the OFAR Archive
(I think)
Jon Henry, who runs the residency and also lives and works out of the space, seems really interesting and very kind.  He'll be cooking all the meals, although his welcome packets welcomes collaborators.  Sadly, I'm not a great cook, but he did mention he loves eggs, and I ca do eggs fairly well so we might hit it off.  He had been experimenting with Sourdough bread when I arrived at OFAR, which I got to taste and was pretty delicious.  BUT, the bread is also an art project, where he has taken yeast from various queer community gardens, so he's trying to make gay bread.  His work is pretty good, and worth looking at.  He's already full of information and artists I should know, read about.  I definitely feel my gap in art history acutely here, but the best thing is that it means I'll learn a ridiculous amount just form talking to him.  Plus he has stellar books in his collection.  He was also kind enough to take me to James Madison University's new art building, which is beautiful.  Sadly, the print department is not running yet, so I won't be able to make use of those facilities.

Stuff I read my first night including two of Jon's books and the welcome packet, plus pamphlets from the nation's largest Aboriginal collection we checked out
Day one was fairly uneventful, traveling drains me, and makes it difficult for me to focus on anything (even reading doesn't provide it's usual respite).  I'm going to walk around town today, get a sense of everything, and hopefully meet up with folks at the Collins Center to start planning my work there.

All the best,
Jon at the Free Speech Monument
Get the word out about OFAR
Traveling feet in Charlottesville, you'll see a lot of this as it's my version of the daily selfie.

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