Tell us about your time on the farm

As an intern, my duties change with each new day and project.Day-to-day you can see me in the kitchen helping our cooks with meals, preparing bedrooms for our visiting artists, or about the property sweeping and cleaning. Then there are larger restoration projects about the farm. I have painted rooms, cleaned out a barn, and planted many flowers.

I meet the artists who visit, take walks on the trails, observe the nature around me, and sometimes chase the free-range chicken who get into my flower garden.

In addition to this, I have been inspired to continue a couple of projects that have been stuck in my head. Putting the pencil to paper again and drafting my ideas and characters has made me very happy. I hope these projects will materialize and I can someday see them come to life on a stage. I have been very productive at Ryder Farm!

What are you studying?

I am getting my BFA in Acting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts theatre conservatory. I will graduate this coming year! HOORAY!

How did you hear about Ryder Farm?

I first heard about the farm from Harry Poster, the Company Manager of SPACE, last fall. He had described the place, and I had been interested since then.

Emily Simoness, the founder, visited UNC School of the Arts to talk to my class about the project. Since then, they haven’t been able to keep me away.

Favorite part?

There have been numerous things that I find myself becoming attached to at SPACE. Some that immediately come to mind include the solitude and quiet of the area—which, for me, have been a really nice contrast from the city; the paths meandering in and around wide open fields, woods, nature; the free-range chicken walking about the property, all of whom seem to be getting bolder by the day; and how every building around me contains artifacts and are themselves a part of history—the building we house our artists was constructed in 1795! These things combined make this place special.

There is an energy about Ryder Farm that draws itself from the serenity, solitude, and history of the place. As hokey as it sounds, I am a firm believer that there is some sort of a special energy here. I can write about it and use all sorts of fancy adjectives in an attempt to explain it and not sound so crazy, but there is no way to best describe it other than actually being here amongst the serenity, solitude, and history. In the three weeks I have spent on this farm I have felt it and have seen other artists inspired by it. Such energy is the source of artistic inspiration.

I also enjoy getting to know the artists in residence who are at different phases in the development of their projects. I get to be around creative minds, and then I get to witness what they have been working on! It’s not every day you get to be around so many professionals from all over. I have met so many people in the span of my three weeks here, and I have learned so much to apply to my own craft.

I do have one specific favorite part about Ryder Farm, however, and should you ever get the opportunity to come visit us, this is what you absolutely must experience. On an evening when the bonfire is built and going and the sun is long gone, take a step onto the dock and look out onto Peach Lake for a surreal display of nature. At this time of night, the lake is glass and reflects the stars above. In the woods around you are a thousand glittering lights from fireflies, twinkling randomly. The sounds of bullfrogs, crickets, cicadas, and birds are almost deafening. It’s unreal, and it’s fantastic! The sights and sounds of a post-midnight Peach Lake will be one of the things I remember most about Ryder Farm.

Least favorite part?

I hate it when the artists leave. Their time on the farm, though productive, seems so brief! Each group brings with them their own liveliness, and they share it with us. For four or five days I get used to it, and then it goes when they leave. Then a new group comes in with a new liveliness.

What is your favorite farm animal or vegetable?

I have mentioned them twice before. On this farm, for some unknown reason, there are a growing amount of chicken roaming around. I don’t know how they got out of the pen. No one seems to know how they got out of the pen…

I find them really entertaining to watch, and they have a perpetual “Is this death or food?” expression about them.