What do Edgartown’s Slough Farm and Chilmark’s the Yard share in common? Interestingly, they overlap in the performing arts, although each in their own way. Slough Farm is a nonprofit educational farm and gathering place. It is committed to the unusual integration of small-scale, sustainable farming and the arts through place-based educational programming. The Yard is a creation and performance platform for artists from around the globe that offers wide-ranging and educational arts experiences through performances, residencies, and, among other things, offers intergenerational engagement programs and classes for the Island community. The Yard also brings dance and creativity-centered education programs into schools.
The Yard’s executive director, Chloe Jones, talks about the origin of a new, exciting collaboration coming up at the end of March: “The Yard and Slough Farm began collaborating last year out of a shared desire to support artists, foster creativity, and create unique cultural experiences for the Island. Last August, we co-presented a site-specific dance performance outdoors at the farm, “Phases,” with concept design by Jesse Keller Jason. We had such a great time working together that we immediately began dreaming up our next project. We came up with this idea to co-curate a residency where the Yard would select two dance makers and Slough would choose two culinary artists.”
For the latter, there will be Katie Yun and Sachi Nagase, who began cooking together as a way to build community and recreate the Korean and Japanese dishes from their childhoods. They founded their Brooklyn-based collective, both and, in 2017 as a fine dining experiment aimed at bringing people together around a table. They will be guest hosts of a session of Slough Farm’s monthly Fermentation Club, which gathers to learn a new practice and create a take-home ferment. All materials are provided by the farm. For Zoom participants, materials will be prelisted and/or available for pickup prior to the meeting. In this session, culinary artists in residence Yun and Nagase will lead participants in the preparation of dongchimi, a radish water kimchi with a seven-day process on Monday, March 29, as a hybrid Zoom and in-person event.
For a meal beyond typical takeout or socially distanced dining, Yun and Nagase will also share their creative culinary work through two remote, pay-what-you-wish take-home fine dining events focusing on local farm produce and fostering community. Diners will be able to pick up the locally sourced ingredients for the multicourse meal at the farm, and then together, through the magic of Zoom, be able to make the dinner in a virtual group setting on March 25 and 28.
Slough Farm’s program director, Sophie Jones, says, “They will also spend two days of their residency in the commercial kitchen at Camp Jabberwocky, cooking meals that will be donated through another collaboration Slough Farm does with Island Grown Initiative.” Sophie Jones is excited about incorporating all these place-based elements into this residency, with a nod toward the farm’s food equity program. During the pandemic, the need for the program has been greater than ever. Yun and Nagase will prepare nourishing, locally sourced meals for those who need them most, at no cost. “And we’re excited to have our food equity work folded into our artistic work,” Jones says.
Dancers LaTasha Barnes and Caleb Teicher will offer the Island community insight into the work they develop at the Slough Farm Movement Studio over the course of the residency, through an online showing (date and time TBA). Both rooted in jazz, musical, and rhythmic movement disciplines, each artist will show a snippet of what they create over the course of their residency. All tickets to this event are pay-what-you-can, or come for free.
LaTasha Barnes is an internationally awarded dancer and tradition-bearer of Black social dance forms. Her expansive skills have made her a frequent collaborator with dance organizations throughout the world. Caleb Teicher is a New York City–based dancer and choreographer specializing in musically driven dance traditions and interdisciplinary collaboration. They began as an acclaimed tap dancer with Dorrance Dance in 2011, and received critical acclaim for their work as a freelance dancer in Lindy Hop, vernacular jazz, musical theater, and percussive dance.
The duo will also be hosting a virtual dance workshop, March 27 at 3 pm. Geared toward intermediate-level dancers of all ages with experience in vernacular jazz, this class will explore the vocabulary and values of authentic solo movement to jazz music. Everyone is welcome to join in. All registrations to the workshop are pay-what-you-can, or come for free.
While the dance and culinary offerings are separate, Sophie Jones says, “What’s great is that where they do overlap is the sharing of the space. They will be cohabitating in our farmhouse, which is our artist residency space, our gathering space, our indoor space. My belief is that their creative work will overlap a lot just because they will be sharing a beautiful space together. And they will all be sharing the beauty of the farm and agriculture as a whole on this Island. Hopefully, there will be some creative juices flowing back and forth there. But they will still have time to pursue their individual projects.”
This is the Yard’s first time welcoming visiting artists to the Island since the pandemic began. “We are thrilled to partner with Slough Farm to bring this residency to life,” Chloe Jones says, “supporting the work of four remarkable artists and nourishing our community through a unique combination of artistic experiences with dance and culinary forms.”
Sophie Jones adds, “Alongside Caleb and LaTasha, Katie and Sachi are Slough Farm’s first artists in residence since COVID struck. We are so excited to have all of them here representing the overlap of art, food, and community that is at the center of Slough’s vision for future residencies. I hope this will be the first of many collaborations like this between Slough Farm and the arts and cultural communities on the Island.”
“We’re hoping to usher in spring with a nourishing experience for all who want to join,” Chloe Jones says. “It has been a particularly difficult winter as the pandemic has raged on, making programs like these feel all the more vital. We hope to inspire, to uplift, and to bring us all together (even if virtually). We also hope the residency is a nourishing experience for the four artists. We want them to leave the island feeling rejuvenated and excited by the outcomes of the residency.”