I’ve grown nostalgic lately. Thinking back over the past several years, I see how creatives, specifically those with an artistic bent, have influenced what we’re doing on our farm.
My husband’s business that he and his brother started in Atlanta almost 30 years ago led him to work with creative directors, musicians and other gifted artists. Then, when we moved in 2012 to Texas to start a Dallas office, we joined a faith community in Deep Ellum that was made up of a wide variety of artists.
The guy who became our architect played the mandolin, among other instruments, in the Sunday morning band. It was there that we met the photographer who first shot professional photos of our farm and the videographer who created our vision video. They and so many others spoke into the dream we had for Purdon Groves.
We had conversations with another friend, a theater person, about the concept of an “art farm,” a place where artists could come and work for a few hours a day and stay for free. Those talks impacted the artist work exchange program that we have today.
We even met our first chef at that church when hosting a dinner group in our downtown Dallas loft. Tanner was there alongside us as we developed the Table Experience, what we now know as the Chef’s Table Experience. Tanner’s creativity over an open fire and his passion for sharing delicious, locally sourced food has helped us provide opportunities for old friends and new to connect over dinner and conversation.
We continued to be influenced by artists after we bought our property. Even before moving to Corsicana in August, 2019, our architect introduced us to Kyle from 100 West, the Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency. He was the first person we met in town. Once we moved here, we began going to open studios at the venue, which allowed us to connect with more creatives. Now many of our closest friends in the area are artists. They write, paint, sing, sculpt, act, work in textiles, etc. You get the picture.
While no one would argue that we all need friends, I believe we need creative friends. Having creators in our lives that show us it’s okay to fail and start again, to try something we never could have imagined - something like starting a farm to table venue and glamping property, for example - is invaluable. Failure plays a significant role in the creative process. It’s what drives the creator to continually try something new.
For us, having these people surrounding us, encouraging us, motivating us on our journey at Purdon Groves has made all the difference.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the April 29, 2023 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.