GAL at the New Eden Collaborative at First Parish Church, Newbury
In the spring of 2008, I became the organizer and director of First Parish Church of Newbury’s environmental mission the New Eden Collaborative. The New Eden Collaborative brings together
church congregants, Greater Newburyport CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shareholders, organic community gardeners, organic chicken cooperative members, environmental groups such as Transition Newburyport, and the Green Artists League (GAL) for the purpose of cultivating a sustainable, and earth friendly community.
The participatory art projects at New Eden is the first of GAL’s 3 ”Articulture” community art projects.
GAL inspired projects at the New Eden Collaborative from 2009-2011 include:
- 2009-2010 New Eden Organic Community Garden Plot created by GAL artist/architect Stephenie Strogney and myself. The garden was designed to break the utilitarian grid of traditional community gardens to cultivate the contemplative and relational aspects of gardening and community. Plots were clustered into “neighborhoods” and paths were configured as to require the walk to turn several times to get to the other side of the garden as a way to increase awareness of time and place.
- 2009 “Measure Up” an experiment in relational aesthetics. In this participatory community action New Eden Community gardeners as part of their introduction to each other where asked to work together to define, measure and plot out the community garden based on the GAL design. As gardeners help to define each other’s spaces individual skills and personalities became apparent with in the collaborative process and quickened the sense of community.
- 2009-present “New Eden Mural” A 35′ mural at First Parish Church, Newbury with imagery created from New Eden Collaborative members’ vision of what makes a sustainable community.
- 2010-present ”Radiant City” I am working with Chicago based artist Andrew Barco and the New Eden Chicken Co-op share holders to build ”utopian chicken architecture” out of reclaimed materials as playful practive of animal empathy. For 2011, we are planning on painting a mural inside the coop for the chickens and expanding the chicken yard .
- 2010-present “Conversation Shelter” GAL artist Stephenie Strogney, GAL intern Cathy Stephens, and my self worked with Cindy Schartman, Ben Twombly and other New Eden Collaborative members to design and construct a public trellised sitting area with in the private garden plot of one of the New Eden Gardeners. “Conversation Shelter” is an opportunity for dialogue on issues of community and private space.
- 2011 “Waste Folly” an artful compost container constructed from reclaimed materials is planned for the upcoming growing season.