In the cold fall of 2014, a handful of artists took their sketch books and cameras and ventured out onto a couple of farms preserved by Maine Farmland Trust: Buckle Farm in Unity; and Rolling Acres in Jefferson. It was the beginning of a nine-month project coordinated by Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast and the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta, connecting approximately 40 artists with 20 Maine farms.

This month, the project will reach its grand finale with two exhibits. The show at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., in Belfast is on view through Aug. 19 and will have an opening reception Friday, July 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., as well as during the Fourth Friday Art Walk July 24. The Damariscotta exhibit will open with a 4 to 7 p.m. reception Saturday, July 11, at the Firehouse Center for the Falcon Foundation, 5 Bristol Road/Route 129, where it will continue through Sept. 7.

Many of the participating farms are properties protected with agricultural easements. These include, among others, Two Coves Farm in Harpswell; the Buckle Farm in Unity; Tide Mill Farm in Edmunds; David’s Folly in Brooksville; Rolling Acres in Jefferson; Dooryard Farm in Camden; and Oyster River Winegrowers in Warren. For a complete list of farms, visit mainefarmlandtrustgallery.com.

Curators David Dewey (Falcon Foundation) and Anna Abaldo (Maine Farmland Trust Gallery) each invited approximately 20 artists to participate. Abaldo said they never intended the project to be quite so substantial, “but almost all the artists we invited said yes.” The curators credit artists’ love for Maine’s rural landscape in general and their enthusiasm to support the farmland preservation efforts of the Trust, in particular.

Artists were invited to observe, paint, write, sketch, photograph and maybe even help with farm chores. Some of the work was done on the farm en plein air. Other work was created in the studio, a composite from various impressions harvested over the course of several months.

Upon completion of his or her work, each artist wrote a statement to summarize the experience and to comment on the relevance of using art to advocate for farming. The roster features well-known artists such as Lois Dodd, Dennis Pinette, Björn Runquist, Linda Packard, Judy Belasco, Nancy Glassman, Rose Marasco, Ed Nadeau, Sharon Yates, Frances Hynes, Amy Pollien, Lou Schellenberg, Paul Rickert and Jill Hoy. Each exhibit also includes one or more paintings by the late Joseph Fiore, an avid supporter of MFT during his lifetime. For the entire list of participating artists, and to find out where whose work will be shown, visit the website noted above.

There will be a celebratory farm-to-table dinner Friday, July 17, at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson. Those interested in dining with some of the artists and farmers can purchase tickets through Maine Farmland Trust by calling the office at 338-6575.

Maine Farmland Trust and the Falcon Foundation thank the Courthouse Gallery in Ellsworth; and the Caldbeck and Dowling Walsh galleries in Rockland for generously sharing several of their represented artists.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the trust, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.