Experiencing A New Kind of Community at the Rochester Folk Art Guild

The Rochester Folk Art Guild recently held an open house


The following is an article written for a student-run newspaper in an undergraduate digital journalism course. You may find the original published here


October 16, 2014

MIDDLESEX, NY – Children chased after wandering dogs while adults perused craft workshops and tasted local beer at the East Hill Farm last weekend.

The Rochester Folk Art Guild held an open house on Oct 1 and 2 to showcase various crafts produced by artists and organic produce grown by farmers. Crafts for sale ranged from pottery pieces to scarves woven out of plant-dyed yarn.

Photo by: folkartguild.org

Photo by: folkartguild.org

The open house allowed visitors to tour artists' workshops, witness craft demonstrations, purchase a farm-fresh, organic meal, and sample local cider and beer while listening to a live music performance.

The guild consists of various artists that live alongside one another producing crafts and farming organically.

The guild's goal is "to offer help and nourishment to all who are searching for a more conscious, creative and responsible way of living," according to their website.

The website also emphasizes a human need to work with one's body and hands, a concept that is put into practice in this community.

The Rochester Folk Art Guild is located on 350-acre East Hill Farm in Middlesex, NY where members have taken a hands-on approach to agriculture for 47 years, producing organic eggs, meat, fruit, and herbs. Food is produced for community members, as well as sold at local farmer's markets.

The farm houses single adults to entire families, in both dormitory-style dwellings and individual residences. There is a strong emphasis on community at the guild and members live communally, making crafts and living off food produced from the farm.

The farm is also home to organic farmers. Photo by: folkartguild.org

The farm is also home to organic farmers. Photo by: folkartguild.org

Non-community members may participate in the rural life of the guild through an internship on the farm. The internship includes housing and home-cooked meals, as well as the opportunity to participate in all of the guild's social activities. Interns "predominantly work with vegetable propagation and animal husbandry, aiding in all aspects of the farm, from seed starting to cooking and preserving," says the farm's website. Interns are also encouraged to participate in craft-making.

"Through personal effort combined with mutual support, cooperation and trust, [guild members] continue to build a community that nurtures the aspirations and talents of each person through acts of service, love, encouragement and self discipline," the website states.

The Rochester Folk Art Guild will hold its Holiday Festival of Crafts on October 31 at the University of Buffalo's Center for Tomorrow. Admission to the event will be $2 per person. More information can be found at folkartguild.org.