~ excerpted from a letter by Sarah Swartz (proprietor of Swartz Family Farm and owner of the site for Shedding Light)
Last spring my husband and I were approached by the Town of Amherst’s Public Art Commission to see if we would be interested in letting them find a way to “light up” our tobacco shed that faces Rt. 116 for “a few nights” as a part of the Town’s 250’s Celebration. They would use “green energy.” The vent doors would all be left open in order to let the light run out down onto the twilight [winter] snow. They would take pictures.
This particular art proposal means so much to us because it reinforces the special place agriculture has in the history of the Town of Amherst and also the importance our fourth generation family farm has played in that history. This project commemorates the town’s 250th anniversary. The town’s seal is that of the book and the plow. The book is evident in Amherst’s everyday “five college bustle.” I believe that our citizens need to be reminded of the importance of the plow.
Four generations ago our family laughed and sweated and dreamed in that barn. I would so like so sit behind it, under a cold starry sky and see the warm light spill out onto the blue snow and watch reflected back at me the new faces who come to see my beautiful barn all dressed up for the first time.