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Sunflower field to receive VIDA award

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By Conor Jameson

Yellow Springs has a reputation for being a visually stunning community, from its natural wonders like the waterfalls of Glen Helen to the colorful murals tucked within striking architecture. The local latest space to be recognized for its beauty is the 10-acre sunflower field on Whitehall Farm along U.S. 68 just north of the village.

The Village of Yellow Springs Arts and Culture Commission will present the Village Inspiration & Design Award, or VIDA, to Dave and Sharen Neuhardt for the sunflower field, which they first planted in 2002.

According to Arts and Culture Commission member Cathy Roma, the field was chosen because it “brings beauty to our community for the sake of beauty, and for many people to appreciate.”

The Arts and Culture Commission will present the award at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the sunflower field, 4625 U.S. 68. The public is welcome.

The Neuhardt’s sunflower field has over 400,000 sunflowers, and annually draws more than 20,000 visitors, according to Chris Welter, the volunteer coordinator for the Tecumseh Land Trust. The local land trust, which holds a conservation easement on the property, helps manage visitors to the field each fall. Welter said the field helps bring attention to the mission of the land trust and also creates community.

“Memories are created here,” Welter said. “Thousands of people come back year after year to take pictures in the field.”

The VIDA award is given several times a year to local residents or businesses to recognize visual and artistic enrichment to public space.

“[It] brings attention to, and celebrates, public arts,” Roma said of the award. “We want to highlight the environment we are creating.”

Past VIDA awards have been presented to the Women’s Park, artist Alan Macbeth for the Oten Gallery, the downtown muralists, local sculptors Beth Holyoke and Kaethi Seidl for their Springs sign, the Dharma Center and Tim and Kelley Callahan for their rock cairns.

The award — a metallic silver Y — designed by U.C. DAPP student Lela Dewey, is given to the winning site until the award is presented again the following season.

Nominations for the VIDA can be sent to:


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