Asheville food service workers shine in new photo exhibition

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Asheville food service workers shine in new photo exhibition

My friend Jonathon Flaum of Farm to Home has organized an inspiring art exhibition up now at Over Easy Cafe in downtown Asheville.

It’s a beautiful meditation on work, service and selflessness. Jonathon hired Jennifer Mesk of Humans of Asheville to take portraits of the food service colleagues he works with every day along his milk delivery route in downtown Asheville. The show also serves as a fundraiser for Michael Provard, a homeless artist whom Jonathon brefriended while making his downtown rounds. Michael spends a lot of time making his art while posted up at Trade and Lore Coffee Shop. (The GoFundMe page for Michael is here.)

As part of the photo exhibit, Jonathon asked his friends to answer a few questions. How is your work a space to simplify your world, your self? What is lost when you simplify? What is found? How does your work enable you to serve? When you serve, what are you feeling? How do you imagine others are impacted by your service?

I hope you consider those questions over a delicious meal when you check out this show.

Jonathon offers his own answer: "My work boils down to two actions: simplify and serve. To give your best so it can be consumed by another: What can be said of this daily action of service? It is the legacy of now.”

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Here's more from Jonathon:

The people I serve are Mandala Makers. Baristas, chefs, gelato makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, doughnut makers: they’re engaged in a craft. They have to get the ingredients right, the temperature correct, the presentation, the flavor…and then…in an instant the artwork is gone! Not hung on a wall in a gallery or in a home. But right into a human’s mouth to be tasted, enjoyed, digested and integrated into the person that consumed it. 

The artist is living in a state of impermanence, sacrifice, giving. She is doing and forgetting constantly. No time to linger. It is making one latte and then another. One plate of food and then another. No record. No artifact. Only the experience that cannot be preserved. But it is tasted.
I play my role in this mandala dance: an ingredient in impermanence. One of the colors of sand. 

And every week it’s blown away and I come back and replace it so the mandala maker can continue his work of doing and forgetting. And I too do and forget as I go between empty and full and empty again.