Education / Environment

Field Day adds art to the garden greenery

Chen Ruan

Children follow along during a yoga demonstration at Kelly Street Garden’s Field Day.

Food and yoga bring Longwood residents outdoors

Blue and yellow balloons were tied to nearly every fence post as kids and adults came to the Kelly Street Garden for the biggest garden party of September. Dozens of neighborhood residents gathered for the event, the second annual Field Day. The temperature was in the mid-60s that Saturday afternoon, and with the stiff wind, the air had a tingle.

The festival was sponsored by the arts group The Laundromat Project, which is based in Hunts Point as well as two other locations in the city. Artists from the project organized the event, and call the team they work in a “fellowship.” This year, the public art and social justice event was titled “Grow Love.”

The Laundromat Project’s goal is to present social justice issues through the exhibition of art works. During Field Day, event volunteers guided participants through the garden, where they saw free interactive arts workshops, garden tours, yoga demonstrations, photography and a multi-media installation chronicling Kelly Street and Hunts Point’s past and present.

“Each of us truly wants to illustrate the creativity in various form of art programming— film, photograph, paintings and multi-media — that’s already there out and promote the positive image of the community,” said Seyi Adebanjo, who handles the Laundromat Project’s development and communication. “We’d love the opportunity to talk, and share our vision for the transformative role of arts and culture in the community,” he said.

Hunts Point has been the home base of this team of artists since last year, and their posters can be seen all over the neighborhood. They also run art programs out of the Lucky Laundromat on Lafayette Avenue. Sasha Phyars-Burgess, a photographer, said that she visited several local groceries stores to talk with people and collect their stories of day-to-day life in Hunts Point. Her photography was on display inside the garden’s main building, but she also photographed Field Day itself, as well as organized the day’s schedule.

Phyars-Burgess said the Field Day event was created to build community networks, solve problems, and enhance a sense of ownership of public spaces in the neighborhood.

In the garden, a volunteer yoga instructor demonstrated basic techniques for children, and guided each of them through the poses. Visitors were invited to tour the gardens, and talk to the garden master about growing fall vegetables.

“We’re also having cooking demonstration to teach y’all how to cook healthy vegetables,” Stephanie Barrett said.

The event struck a chord with Adebanjo, who said he was motivated to do even more in the community after the success of Field Day.

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