"Grassfed," an art exhibit that highlights the Ancient White Park cattle of Seed Savers Exchange, will open in May at Heritage Farm. (photo/Seed Savers Exchange)

“Grassfed,” an art exhibit that highlights the Ancient White Park cattle of Seed Savers Exchange, will open in May at Heritage Farm. (photo/Seed Savers Exchange)

I had a closeup look at the Ancient White Park cattle that live at the Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm and they are simply striking. The cattle are as beautiful as cattle can be and their calves even more so.

A coming art exhibit will highlight that beauty beginning in May, along with a sound installation at the farm near Decorah. Here is more on the outdoor art exhibits, as well as a rare plant sale, from Seed Savers Exchange:

Decorah, IA – Seed Savers Exchange will host two month-long outdoor art exhibits at Heritage Farm beginning in May.

  • “Grassfed,” by artist Valerie Miller of Steel Cow studio in Waukon, Iowa, features larger than life outdoor portraits of the Ancient White Park Cattle living at Heritage Farm.
  • “Talking Trees,” a sound installation by Brook Joyce from Luther College in Decorah, mixes the sounds of nature with composed music.

Both exhibits will run concurrently through May and are free to the public.  These events will premiere on Saturday, May 4, 2013 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).  In conjunction with the exhibit opening, Seed Savers Exchange will be offering unique vegetable transplants from the preservation seed bank for sale to the public, on May 4 only.

Rare Plants

The preservation plant sale, which will consist of hard to find vegetable varieties, will include staff favorites like the deep maroon amaranth ‘Kerala Red,’ a nearly black lettuce ‘Revolution-Evolution,’ a classic mustard known as ‘Myers’ Family Heirloom, and the relentlessly fruitful tomato ‘Tiny Tim Yellow.’  Transplants will be sold for $3 for 3 inch pots, and $4 for 4-packs, available in limited quantities.  SSE staff will also be on hand during the event to answer gardening and seed saving questions.

Cow Art

“Grassfed” is an outdoor exhibition of larger than life canvases by Waukon artist Valerie Miller of Steel Cow Gallery. The exhibit shows Valerie’s Ancient White Park ‘girls’ and 12 of their closest bovine friends. Walk along the trails to view these jumbo prints placed in the pastures at SSE’s Heritage Farm. The Ancient White Park cattle, a threatened heritage bred, roamed the British Isles over 2,000 years ago.

Kids of all ages are invited to help Valerie paint an outdoor mural on May 4th.

What is Steel Cow? With a camera around her neck and sketch pad in hand, Valerie Miller stomps around fields and farms all over the world searching out the perfect cows to become one of “the girls” in the Steel Cow collection. Each has her own whimsy, wit and personality, and is branded with either their farm given name or the names of family and friends.  The end result is an image that has the spirit and sweetness of each cow rarely seen by anybody other than the farmer.

Talking Trees

The Iowa Arts Council has awarded a major grant to Luther College associate professor of music Brooke Joyce.  Professor Joyce is using the money to create an outdoor sound installation at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah.

On May 4th, and throughout the month of May, all ages will be invited to travel to Seed Savers Exchange to experience the outdoor sound installation, “Talking Trees,” in which the sounds of nature mingle with music created by composers Brooke Joyce and University of California-San Diego composer-in residence Harvey Sollberger.

The project will provide a walk through the forest that mixes composed music with the natural sounds like rushing water and birds chirping. The type of music and sounds being played will vary according to the time of day and atmospheric conditions.

There will be four or five canopies placed along a trail at Seed Savers Exchange, each equipped with four speakers.  Joyce and Sollberger will power these canopies with solar panels and battery energy.

Both “Grassfed” and “Talking Trees” will be on display at Seed Savers Exchange throughout the month of May.  The Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Weekends 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

These events are free to the public.  Located six miles north of Decorah, Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and distribution of heirloom seeds.  Seed Savers maintains a collection of thousands of open pollinated varieties, making it one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States.  For more information, go to www.seedsavers.org