Trish Crowe found her calling in environmental conservation when the stunning landscapes near her farm in Charlottesville, Virginia inspired her to invite artists to her and husband David’s home to create artwork based on the environment. “The quality of light reflected off the mountains was intense and brilliant. I knew that artists would respond. I turned the old milking parlor into a studio and began inviting artists to join me on Thursdays,” she said. This small group has become the Firnew Farm Artist Circle.
Soon Trish, who is a graphic designer and illustrator, was involved with Blue Ridge Conservancy which focuses on voluntary land protection in central Virginia. “It seemed such an obvious and easy decision to create an exhibition of [works that described] these lands under conservation easement, using the talents of local artists,” said Trish, who is now president of the Conservancy.
With photographer Larry Behunek she created an exhibition which spent a year traveling to local venues. The group of artists dedicated to this work has grown tremendously since and with Trish’s guidance has opened several installations.
“Last spring when we opened our finally restored farm house for the Dolley Madison Garden Tour, we held a Native Virginia Plant exhibition in the studio showcasing botanical artist Lara Call Gastinger, the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project. With 1,200 visitors our art shows had outgrown our milking parlor,” Trish said.
Upcoming plans include a Christmas Show that will involve local school children, the proceeds of which will go to Madison’s Emergency Services Association. “It seems such a perfect combination of art, community and the land that embraces us,” said Trish.