Returning to Nature.  Without intervention, ALL of the historic barns in Shenandoah County will no longer be standing.

Returning to Nature.  Without intervention, ALL of the historic barns in Shenandoah County will no longer be standing.

Our old barns have outlived their usefulness.  Originally purposed for the storage of loose hay, then later for rectangular bales, historic barns no longer serve a compelling purpose in agriculture.  Hay is now harvested in large rolls, and stored in plastic sleeves in the field.  Our majestic barns are on a path of slow demise.

Our old barns have outlived their usefulness.  Originally purposed for the storage of loose hay, then later for rectangular bales, historic barns no longer serve a compelling purpose in agriculture.  Hay is now harvested in large rolls, and stored in plastic sleeves in the field.  Our majestic barns are on a path of slow demise.

This weathered evidence of humans' past struggles signify the care and keeping of small family groups. It is a reminder of the perseverance of spirit and our toiling for subsistence and enterprise.  What struggles transpired here?

This weathered evidence of humans' past struggles signify the care and keeping of small family groups. It is a reminder of the perseverance of spirit and our toiling for subsistence and enterprise.  What struggles transpired here?

The ubiquitous barns that dot the countryside of Shenandoah County are easy to take for granted.  But their future is certainly uncertain and they are endangered. Old barns present a hardship for farm owners; they are a challenge to keep standing when their purpose is obsolete.  Without financial assistance for owners of barns, the hard choice will be made to let nature reclaim them, tear them down before they become a safety hazard, and/or sell the materials for use in new, rustic structures.

The ubiquitous barns that dot the countryside of Shenandoah County are easy to take for granted.  But their future is certainly uncertain and they are endangered. Old barns present a hardship for farm owners; they are a challenge to keep standing when their purpose is obsolete.  Without financial assistance for owners of barns, the hard choice will be made to let nature reclaim them, tear them down before they become a safety hazard, and/or sell the materials for use in new, rustic structures.

Shenandoah County Historic Barns Project

"Humans: Apart and A Part of Nature"


The Conception of the Shenandoah County Historic Barn Foundation


Through my practice as an interpretive painter of Shenandoah County landscapes, I have become more and more attuned to our residents’ interaction with nature. I am interested in the fact that, as humans, we are a part of nature but also distinctly apart from it. But there is a point where our human endeavors intersect with the natural world.

This intersection of humanity and nature is evident to me in our historic and decaying barns. Perhaps it is easy to make the connection here because these barns are in a state of slow demise. The natural material of wood is much more obvious than when barns are continuously maintained. These barns have character and draw people in.  They provide a romantic experience of a time-gone-by, with all the richness of human struggle and perseverance, our endeavors related to survival, and the care of our small family groups.

Our historic barns are slowly deteriorating; one day they could be lost forever.  Modern barns are not constructed in the same way. They serve a different purpose, and the historic bank barn has outlived it's usefulness.  Some day in the future, the bank barns will no longer exist. Sadly many barns have only a short time left.  My endeavor is to raise awareness of the richness of these barns, and possibly raise funds for their preservation.  Those that are not to be saved, will at least be memorialized in my paintings.

I would like to shine a light on these indicators of "human beings as part of nature" with The Shenandoah County Historic Barns Project--Humans: Apart and A Part of Nature.  It will begin with a mapping phase, to search out and discover the barns that are at risk of disappearing and digitally map them.  Once the barns are identified and mapped, I will create interpretative paintings of them.  The resulting paintings will be a body of work that can be exhibited publicly. 

The exhibition can be a way to involve the citizens of Shenandoah County and to promote tourism.  It is my hope that the project will serve as a celebration of Shenandoah County, its history and its people, and by extension the entire Shenandoah Valley.  Honoring the old barns is a way to enrich the lives of our citizens, providing a meaningful reminder of the inherent value of our people and place. 

If you or someone you know would like to be involved in this project, please contact me at sally@sallyveach.com.  To follow along with my project and other art news, please sign up for my newsletter here. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sally Veach, Artist

 

The scenic location of a Pre-Civil War barn near Strasburg, VA in Shenandoah County, Virginia

The scenic location of a Pre-Civil War barn near Strasburg, VA in Shenandoah County, Virginia

A wealth of history is hidden in the barns of Shenandoah County.  Here, the utility of yesterday and today in storage.

A wealth of history is hidden in the barns of Shenandoah County.  Here, the utility of yesterday and today in storage.

One of two early, Germanic brick barns that survived the burning of the Shenandoah Valley by General Sheridan during the Civil War.

One of two early, Germanic brick barns that survived the burning of the Shenandoah Valley by General Sheridan during the Civil War.