For starters, this was Art Garden Week I, the start of our summer Arts & Smarts children’s program. We’ve been blessed with a very full house–33 children and 22 adults on the first day alone.
Susan Fowler is with us again this summer to provide her wonderful, full body storytelling. The kids are working in the studio with Lisa to make outdoor scenes out of clay. They’re also working in the garden with Pat and making snacks in the kitchen with Kristen using the first garden produce augmented with other vegetables from local growers. We also made art out of discarded toys.
All of this is great, but Art Garden Weeks are so much more than the sum of their parts. Participants and volunteers become a giant family with members aged three to eighty-five who come together to learn and nurture each other. The experiences blend together–exploring the beauty of rainbow chard in the sun, an new awareness of the environment gained through a well-told story, the way that beautiful food grown locally just tastes better, the way that making artwork helps you re-imagine the places and creatures in the natural world around you.
Tuesday I was photographing a girl shredding a beautiful red and white bulls eye striped chioggia beet so it could be added to a salad. A grandmother who was participating with her grandchild observed to me, “It wasn’t until I came to Patchwork that I really understood that food can be art.”
Next week the art activities will continue with Sculpture Week led by Rob Millard-Mendez, a sculpture professor at USI.
In additional art news, we’ve got a new exhibit of art up in the artWorks Gallery in the front room of the River City Food Co-op and in Patchwork’s main room. The art is a collection of watercolors created by a group of artists that includes Patchwork’s Jane Case Vickers. Other artists are Christa Shore, Julia Devine, Shari Devine, Laura Yoder, Jacinta Wuerth, and Dolli Neikirk. The art will be on display through July 6 and can be viewed during normal business hours at the Co-op and Patchwork. There will be a Meet-the-Artists reception on June 21 from 4:30-6:00 pm.
We’re also excited that our neighborhood will be home to an art extravaganza this weekend–it’s the big kickoff of Sculpt EVV and Art EVV with outdoor sculptures, indoor sculptures and ceramics, bands, an art fair, and food. It should be a wonderful event and an exciting investment in our neighborhood. Billy Hedel’s gallery will also be open this weekend, and there you can see the pen and ink drawings he made to illustrate the Washington Avenue Historic District Walking Tour booklet.