Artist Profile

Ryan Tenney

Rocket Grant (2017)

Statement of Work

I am a returning generation farmer and multimedia artist from Kansas City, Missouri. I studied painting at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Columbia College Chicago. Upon returning to Kansas City, I decided to create a livelihood and aesthetic return to agriculture. George Washington Carver is influential to my processes because of the interdependent relationship between his aesthetic, ecological, and community impactful practices... using drawing and painting to understand plants and their relationships to human society. Learning the history of black agrarianism is related to my practice of radically imagining a socioecological future; inspiring my engagement with the land.

My current focus is developing an economically viable, 22-acre agroecological production farm in Kansas City: Sankara Farm. I established a Friday farmers market at 18th and Vine and CSA in 2016 which provides local, organic produce independent to the constraints of the food system. Operating a production farm allows me to interact with a wide demographic including families and independent elders in practical community transformation. The practice of reshaping the food system and landscape as a steward with practices of sustainability allows my cultural and aesthetic work new possibilities. My intention is to further my capacity to generate a visionary land-based practice that pushes toward socioecological transformation.

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