An aerial view of one of the Fields Projects

The Fields Project, in Oregon, Illinois, is one of the most unusual art-related events that includes plein air painting and an outdoor show and sale of artwork. Until 2011, the event also involved farmers mowing 10 acres of prairie grasses according to designs created by artists.

R.A. Sturgill’s easel set up for plein air painting in Oregon, IL

Since its inception 15 years ago, about 200 visiting artists have participated in the Fields Project plein air adventure with more than 50 farm families sharing their homes with those artists. On the final day of the week-long event (June 15-23, 2013), visiting and regional artists will present an art show and sale at Mix Park in Oregon, Illinois. Until 2011, the highlight of the event occurred when artists’ designs were carved into 10 acres of tall prairie grasses. After the work was completed, visitors took airplane rides to view the “field art.” Unfortunately, that popular part of the event ended when new regulations for CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) grasslands were put into effect.

Another design carved into a farmer’s field

Carol Hennessy painting

Nevertheless, the Fields Project flourishes because of its other unique features. “We bring art and agriculture together by inviting artists from all over the country to live on working farms for nine days, creating their art in a setting which has inspired artists for well over a century,” says a spokesperson for the Fields Project.

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