Wormfarm Institute will commission original ArtWorks for the Farm/Art DTour in Sauk County, WI (Oct 5-14, 2024)
The Farm/Art DTour is a self-guided, 50-mile drive through the beautiful working lands of Sauk County, Wisconsin, punctuated by ArtWorks (large-scale temporary art installations), Field Notes (interpretive signage), pasture performances, roadside poetry, local food and more. The DTour meanders through the working farmland and unique geology of the Driftless Region, and through the traditional homeland of the Ho-Chunk Nation and many other Indigenous peoples who continue to live here.
Artists are invited to propose original site-responsive works for public view October 5-14, 2024. A jury will select a diverse group of artists to respond to the land. We seek artists — individuals or teams, formally trained or self-taught, from all disciplines — who are interested in creating works that engage with the landscape, farmers, landowners, and surrounding rural communities. This is an opportunity to contribute to a unique, exciting project with an established reputation that continues to evolve. Selected artists will receive a stipend ranging from $5,000-10,000 to realize their work and artists retain ownership of the work.
Successful past projects have ranged from sculptural objects, to interactive environments, to work activated by natural processes. Some have invited hands-on participation, utilized existing agricultural infrastructure, or were installed on buildings in the small towns along the route. Click here for images of past installations. "DTourists" are usually traveling by car and guided by a map, so successful proposals tend to be visually compelling and large-scale. Artists are responsible for both installation and de-installation and will have about two weeks to install and one week to de-install.
The intersection of art, culture, and agriculture that is so unique to Wormfarm made the Farm/Art DTour the perfect place to develop an idea that we'd had for a long time: to create an installation that, through the fun of cooking and eating dumplings, would draw a temporary community of practice together from the visitors on the tour.”
Artists will be selected by a jury through a two-part process. Initial proposals will be reviewed by regional and national arts professionals, past DTour artists, and Wormfarm staff. Up to 15 finalists will be selected and expected to attend a two-day Orientation in Sauk County, WI in the spring; they will receive a stipend to help cover travel expenses and subsequently develop a full proposal.
- Artistic excellence
- Visual impact
- Demonstrated ability to realize
- Feasibility in the context of the larger event
- Fits within Wormfarm's broader curatorial vision
- Site and/or community responsiveness
- Statement of Interest
- Resume or C.V. not to exceed two pages
- Preliminary Project Concept
- Concept drawings or visual references
- 8-10 images of recent work, preferably demonstrating ability to realize large-scale outdoor project
February 12: Applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
March 27: Finalists selected, notification sent to applicants
April 26-28: Finalists’ Orientation in Sauk County, WI
May 20: Final Proposals due
June 14: DTour Artists chosen, notified
July 8: Contracts with selected artists, site assignments
September 23-October 4: Installation of Art Works
October 5-14: Farm/Art DTour
October 15-20: De-installation of work
There's no fee to apply.
Yes. This year, we are designating up to two spots for emerging artists or artists who are experimenting for the first time with new forms in their practice. These spots are for artists who have excellent proposals, but are making a leap in scope and scale, and are unable to document (via past work) their capacity to realize a large-scale outdoor project.
Budgets are not required for the initial application, though applicants will indicate a potential level of funding between $5,000 and $10,000. Budgets will be required in final proposals.
Yes, several past DTour ArtWorks have been collaborative projects. In your application, be sure to include names and information for everyone involved, but designate a main contact person.
The orientation provides an opportunity for artists to meet with event organizers, landowners, past DTour artists and one another, and aims to deepen their understanding of the landscape, the event and the agri/cultural context in which it occurs. The weekend will include a tour of the DTour route, shared meals, ample opportunities to explore ideas, ask questions, and identify potential sites. Meals and housing are provided. It is our hope that this experience has value independent of being selected for this year’s event. After the Orientation, finalists will have two weeks to develop a full proposal.
Wormfarm provides a stipend for finalists to travel to the Orientation. Wormfarm is unable to provide additional funding to accommodate travel expenses for international artists.
The DTour is a loop that runs between Sauk City and Plain in southern Sauk County, WI. Witwen Park is the midpoint of the route.
The Driftless Area is a region across southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and the extreme northwestern corner of Illinois that was never covered by ice during the last ice age, and therefore lacks glacial deposits, also termed "drift". The southwestern region of Wisconsin is known for its beautiful landscape of valleys and hills that escaped the flattening of nearby glaciers.
Event organizers place artists based on their site preferences and the overall curation of the event. At the Orientation, finalists will tour the route and identify several site preferences.
Artist proposals should factor in fall weather in Wisconsin, which can be unpredictable and include rain, cold, and high winds.
The DTour artwork belongs to the artist, unless other arrangements are made.
Every other year, thousands of visitors from across the Midwest and beyond travel the Farm/Art DTour. Our audience grew from 3,000 in 2011 to 22,000 in 2016 when, in order to manage its growth, the DTour shifted to a biennial.
Even with Covid travel restrictions in 2020, we estimate 18,000 folks came out, 98% of whom reported they felt safe with our "keep one cow apart" guidelines in place.
With tourism trends showing renewed excitement for rural and agritourism experiences, 2022 attendance rose again and we expect similar attendance (20,000+ visitors) in 2024.
The 50-mile route will have 40+ Map Stops. In addition to commissioned ArtWorks, visitors will come across pasture performances, roadside poetry, Farm Forms (creative installations made by farmers), local food markets, Mystery Spots, rogue installations, Offshoots like Dr. Evermor's Sculpture Park, educational Field Notes and the art of what farmers do everyday. From small country churchyards to grazing cows to giant puppets to award-winning cheese factories, you never know what you’ll find around the next bend in the road.
Attend our info session for applicants on Thursday, January 25, 6 pm CST via Zoom. Click here to register.
We also recommend the News section of our website and these articles for context:
Still have a question? Email email@example.com
Attend our info session for applicants on Thursday, January 25, 6 pm CST via Zoom.
The Farm/Art DTour was created within Fermentation Fest: A Live Culture Convergence that has brought people together in celebration of food, farming, abundance and transformation since 2011.
Now in its 10th year (a biennial since 2016), the DTour is an invitation to come closer to rural communities and a landscape where farming plays a central though changing role. We often say that the DTour puzzles as many as it pleases and bewilders as many as it enchants. Year after year, we see the benefit of rural and urban neighbors meeting in the landscape upon which we all depend. This work has taken on special importance in recent years as perceptions of the rural/urban divide have grown starker.
Wormfarm is committed to creating and supporting a healthy polyculture that thrives on the contributions of artists, collaborators, and community members from a variety of backgrounds. Rooted in arts and culture, we emphasize the cross-sector collaboration necessary to build a vibrant region that values both its rural and urban parts.
In ecology there is a concept called “edge environments“—areas between one sort of landscape and another, where ecosystems overlap. These edges tend to have more diversity and therefore more hardiness than either of the adjoining environments alone. These mixed-use zones, both literal and conceptual, characterize the DTour experience and allow us to see new possibilities for our land, our work, and our communities.
I love the mix. Especially as the mix is encouraged by the DTour Map listings - there's not a separation or ranking of pro to vernacular, so it's up to the audience to decide what they respond to, not an audience being told what to think about each artwork. Love it.”
About the Organizers
Wormfarm Institute is an award-winning nonprofit organization with the mission to bring together farming, conservation, and the arts to rekindle the cultural and enhance the economic possibilities of our region while celebrating its unique natural and human history. The Farm/Art DTour has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board, ArtPlace America, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Educational Foundation of America, and The Builders Initiative.