The idea-seeds for The Art Garden originally sprouted from thinking about CSA farming, the essential need for creativity in sustainable living, and the way participation in art projects builds community. In a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), members pay the farmer in advance for a share of the Harvest. In that way, members ‘share’ some of the risks and benefits inherent in farming.
I wondered what Community Supported Art could look like?
As an artist and a teacher, I know how important creativity is for sustaining health and happiness. I have seen the intrinsic value of making things, and the need to share them. As a facilitator of community art projects, I have been amazed again and again to witness the creative energy, ideas, skills, commitment, personal empowerment and sense of community in people who don’t consider themselves artists, especially while they are working collaboratively on a community project.
I first sent the seedling proposal of a Community Supported Art-making place to friends and community members in early September, 2009. Enthusiasm, ideas and support trickled in enough to transplant the concept into the reality of a bright, beautiful, open space. My son, Zeek, suggested ‘The Art Garden’ as a name in part because of the CSA metaphor, in part because he could imagine our neighbor Kate, saying, “I’m taking Anthony and Bennett down to The Art Garden.”
The Art Garden was fertilized by materials and supplies donated by people in the community; materials no longer needed and put to creative re-use. And like the warmth of the sun and the sparkle of water, people offered other gifts: gifts of time, financial support, and ideas. The Art Garden, even in this early-growth stage, has blossomed because of the hands and hearts of many.
My hope is that The Art Garden will nourish our essential need for creativity, and support sustainable living in our community. I believe art is like food, and I hope The Art Garden will provide a healthy means for exploration and growth, enhancing our ability to build community through participation in the creative process.