If You Build It, They Will Come: Chesterhill Arts Collective Premieres Sculpture, Hosts Music Fest

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Hundreds of music fans and art aficionados are expected to gather this weekend for Traysh Island, a two-day festival hosted by 8550 OHIO (formerly Harold Arts) in bucolic Chesterhill, Ohio.

The event, which is a celebration of Conrad Freiburg's 11-sided stellar observatory Woodshed, will feature nearly 20 bands at the Jeffers Tree Farm.

Traysh Island's curator is Jason Ajemian, a composer, bassist and songwriter based in New York City and a resident artist at 8550 OHIO for the past seven years.

"For our first public event, I have a ton of awesome friends coming in from New York City and Chicago to perform, as well as some awesome local bands. Plus, it will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Woodshed, our first permanent sculpture," he said.

In anticipation of the structure's completion, Ajemian was asked to program two days of performances based on his network of collaborators in Chicago, New York, Ohio and Indiana. The bands selected for this event are mostly musicians who have come to Harold Arts, now 8550 OHIO, for artist-in-residency programs. This weekend's lineup will vary between electronica, indie rock, jazz and improvised music.

The organization's new moniker reflects a recent change in location and method of operation, according to Ajemian.

"Harold Arts has become 8550 OHIO as it no longer operates as an artist collective in Chicago," he explained. "8550 Ohio–which is essentially the address–signifies a shift in interest, from deploying cultural activities in major cities while using Appalachia as a kind of think tank for these activities, to a more site-specific effort to build a sculpture garden and safe haven for traveling musicians."

The artist-in-residency programs are operated by three artists–Ajemian, Joe Jeffers, and Frank Van Duerm–for a few months every summer.

Traysh Island is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 24 and Sunday, Aug. 25. Tickets are $30 for a day pass or $50 for the weekend. Camping is included. For details, including a list of bands, directions and more, visit www.haroldarts.org/traysh.