Featured Member Rosemary Markowski
Interview by Julia Rix
Did you know that MamaCITA has a handful of affiliated members who live outside the Philadelphia Area? That’s right! While the heart of our artists’ cooperative is a local grass roots organization, some of our members have relocated across state lines.
Rosemary Markowski is a sculptor, oil painter and art teacher who now lives in rural Virginia. She manages Tangelo Studio on Etsy and you can see her recent artistic explorations in video performance and writing chapbooks on her website.
I recently had the opportunity to learn more about Rosemary and the exciting work she is doing in her community to raise awareness about environmental and food supply concerns through art education. Here is what she said…
Could you describe where you live and what it’s like to be an artist in your community?
I live in Berryville, VA with my husband and three children. We live on a small farm in the Shenandoah Valley about 60 miles west of Washington DC. I manage our dairy goats, chickens, and horses as well as an equine facility nearby. The connection between agriculture and the arts is important to me. I believe creative problem solving and keen powers of observation are skills young people can learn through the arts and will be able to apply to current issues such as environmental concerns and food supply. I’ve started a farm and studio space for for these explorations. This will be the first full summer of programs at Mullein Hill Farmstead and Studio. We are raising money to support the program with gofundme.
There’s often the presumption that the arts are not active in rural communities; while they may be a little more difficult to locate, they are certainty alive. I want to work to support their growth and change perceptions of culture outside the urban hub. I frequently travel over the mountain and into DC and have realized how important rural/urban exchange is for our communities. As a mother and artist I understand the challenges of visibility and isolation. Some of these challenges relate to the struggles of artists in rural space, so I see a natural connection between the two.
When/How/Why did you join MamaCITA?
I think it was 2006 that I joined MamaCITA. At the time my children were all quite young and I was getting ready to submit work to my first juried show in quite some time. While dropping-off work at the Cheltenham Art Center I saw a flyer in the hall for a new “mothers’ cooperative in the arts”. I emailed the founder, Melissa, later that week. The group was exactly what I need at that time. I was able to get the critique and support that was essential to restarting a disciplined studio practice. I moved away from the Philadelphia area in 2009, but I still champion the group and find the members an inspiration.
What is your typical work day like?
Right now my week is pretty packed. Four days a week I commute to DC for a BFA and Masters in Teaching program at George Washington University. The remaining days I work at my job and at our home. From home I work on commissions, teach art classes, and tend our animals and garden. I have three children and they have been active in 4-H for five years, so we usually have plenty of extracurricular actives to squeeze in as well. One day I won’t have all of this and I’ll wonder what to do with myself!