As the Queens County Farm prepares to reopen to the public for the first time since the Coronavirus crisis began back in March, a temporary installation by artist Aaron Asis is taking shape on its grounds. The installation, entitled ‘Cover Crop,’ was initially conceived as a celebration of another kind, but will now anchor a series of COVID-19 compliant festivities on the Queens Farm. The installation will invite opening day visitors to directly pass-through one of the Farm’s primary planted landscapes while maintaining a safe social distance.
“The reopening not only opens up the 47-acre urban farm to the public but debuts the farm’s first public art installation ‘Cover Crop’ in collaboration with artist Aaron Asis with support from Queens Council for the Arts,” noted Jennifer Walden Weprin, Executive Director of the Queens County Farm Museum. ‘Cover Crop’ was initially intended as a pilot project to expand arts and cultural programming at the Queens Farm. The initial creative concept was inspired by the Farm’s infamous ‘Amazing Maize Maze.’ The new site-specific installation invites visitors directly onto planted fields to inspire conversation about dormant agriculture and to encourage visitors to contemplate the science of sustainable agriculture. This was all before the coronavirus crisis fundamentally changed the rules around public programming and onsite education.
As we learn more about safe social practices in our new normal, it remains important to facilitate visitor access to these planted landscapes and to celebrate the land in between crop cycles. In response to new social distancing guidelines, the revised installation design will consist of a crisscrossing path that will allow visitors to pass through a cocktail of cover-crop while maintaining a safe social distance from one another. Parallel paths will also enable partners or groups to travel side-by-side, ensuring appropriate distance can be maintained throughout their experience — created by and celebrated through the arts.
“As the challenges associated with personal isolation and public health continue to identify our new normal, it is more important than ever before to create new ways to stay connected and to share new experiences,” says ‘Cover Crop’ artist Aaron Asis, “The arts have always been the great equalizer when it comes to connecting people.”
The Queens County Farm is one of our city’s oldest cultural icons. It occupies the largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland left in New York City and dates back to 1697. The Farm encompasses a 47-acre parcel that continues to represent the longest continuously farmed site in New York State — albeit without public access since March. The Farm team is eager to reintroduce New York City to the site’s historic buildings, greenhouse complex, livestock, orchards, herb gardens, planting fields, and the new site-specific art installation — which will be a featured component of the reopening this Sunday, August 2nd. “Queens Farm is an accessible site with free admission 354 days per year. It is dedicated to growing environmental citizens through education, volunteerism, and research,” says Walden Weprin, “I am eager to see how the public responds to this work.”
’Cover Crop’ will highlight the transitional state of the planted earth, while we all live through the transitional stages of our lives on this earth. The installation will be on display through Sunday, August 9th, at the Queens Farm. Untapped New York will host a virtual tour of Queens County Farm on Friday, July 31st. The experience will be led by Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer, Justin Rivers, with appearances by artist Aaron Asis and Queens County Farm’s Director of Education, Ali Abate.
Friday’s live event is organized for Untapped New York Insiders — get two months free with code JOINUS. A video of the talk will also be made available to all our Insiders afterward in the Video Archive section of our website.