Exhibit displays area farms

Above: An aerial photo of the Bettin family farm in Truman, taken in the 1950s in black and white and later colorized. The photo is one of 20 on display now at the Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont.

FAIRMONT– Aerial photos of farms around Martin County can be viewed at the Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont starting today. The show, coordinated by Leslie Walkowiak will be on display through most of the month.

Walkowiak, who is on the visual arts committee at the Red Rock, said that they’ve been trying to get things going again after Covid.

“Last year we had people who contracted to do shows and they were cancelled because of Covid. We re-scheduled some of them but not all of them,” she said.

Walkowiak said she’s not sure where the idea came form, but she thought it would be really interesting to have aerial photographs of farms on display.

“My goal was to have every township in Martin County represented,” Walkowiak said.

There are at least 18 townships in Martin County, though Walkowiak said she doesn’t think one picture from each is in the show.

Walkowiak also had a desire to include a century farm from each township. She was amazed to learn the number of century farms in the county.

“There’s 255 century farms, just in Martin County alone,” she sad.

She said there are also two sesquicentennial farms, which means they’re 150 years old. Walkowiak believes there are other farms that qualify as century farms, but haven’t gone through the process to make it on the official registry.

“In order to be a century farm it has to stay in the family and it has to be a working farm,” Walkowiak said.

She advertised for the show by handing out flyers at the Martin County fair and contacting people she knew who lived on farms.

“I sent out applications to people and that’s how most of these are here,” Walkowiak said of the photos on display.

There are around 20 photos on display. Some farms have two photos, taken decades apart.

“I think it’s interesting to see the changes over the years,” Walkowiak said.

Walkowiak said that most of the photos are older and were taken from airplanes.

“There are companies that do nothing but take aerial farm photos, but I think a lot of them are going out of business because of drones,” Walkowiak said.

Her favorite part about working on the project was talking to everyone and getting to know the history of their farm.

Each photo will have a title card indicating whose farm it is, as well as other information about past owners, crops grown and other interesting features. Walkowiak thought adding that information to the show was crucial.

“Aerial farm photography is interesting, but unless you know the history of it, it just looks like another farm picture,” Walkowiak said.

An open house artist meet and greet will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 14.


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