SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing is a project developed by artists Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner with the help of poet Matthew Kosinski. The project is in partnership with Empower Youth, an organization committed to interrupting cycles of poverty among the youth of Bethel, Ohio. Taking as its site this rural Appalachian community, SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing imagines the artistic act as one of connecting, understanding, bridging, and building.
Establishing the nexus of the project at the Empower Youth Ranch, a 15-acre horse farm recently gifted to the organization by Community Savings Bank of Bethel, SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing will begin with an examination of soil, the lifeblood of this historically agricultural town. By studying the soil and identifying the connective veins that carry nutrients and health to the land and its inhabitants, the artists will develop a methodology for working with the community and imagining new possibilities for art and life. SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing seeks to confront and intervene in contemporary mythologies and narratives of Appalachian life to uncover strategies for combating isolation, alienation, and disenfranchisement.