2021 Featured Artist – Garland Farwell
Garland Farwell was born in Los Angeles, California. He earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. An artist residency at Coleman Center for the Arts brought Farwell south to the small town of York, Alabama in 2008. “I initially came to the Black Belt to explore Folk Art, Rural Art, and Outsider Art. All of which are here in abundance. The practical, humble, simple yet sophisticated approach of these regional artists has influenced my own practice and transformed my work.” He was only scheduled to be in York a few months. But because of the constant inspiration it provided, he hasn’t left since.
Farwell spent most of his early career in New York, working primarily in theater, designing sets, props, puppets, and masks. He has collaborated with various playwrights, directors, companies and choreographers. These include Serious Play! Theater Ensemble, Batoto Yetu Dance Company, Full Circle Productions, and University of Massachusetts Theater Department. His work has been featured at venues in North America, Europe, Africa, and The Caribbean.
While still enjoying the occasional theater project, Farwell’s current practice is centered primarily in the studio, developing paintings, sculptures, and assemblages for south17.org, a rural arts cooperative he founded to help foster economic growth in west Alabama. “I established the South17 Workshop as a kind of Folk Art laboratory; a place to re-examine this already broad idiom and to foster innovation and invention within it.”
Garland Farwell has been a recipient of numerous fellowships, residencies and awards from, among others, The Jim Henson Foundation, Franklin Furnace Foundation, Peg Saandvoordt Foundation, New York Foundation on the Arts, Diverse Forms (National Endowment for the Arts), Manhattan Cultural Council, and ArtSpace220.
Check out this great feature on Farwell by Alabama News Center: