Adventures at the N.E. WalkFest and The Garden
Over the past six weeks ArtLab interns led by Artist and Residence Jennifer Stratton have explored their personal community histories through soil, film and photography. These workshops are centered in engagement and participatory storytelling practices with the surrounding community, as such Art Lab has had several experiences getting their hands dirty outside and creating soil-based works alongside community members!
N.E. WalkFest: On September 26, 2015 Platteforum’s Art Lab and Artist in Residence Jennifer Stratton brought the Denver Soil Bank to the NE Walk Festival. The NE Walk Festival is an annual community block party devoted to the improvement of walking conditions, strengthening neighborhood connections, and promoting neighborhood and pedestrian safety throughout NE Denver. At Platteforum’s Soils + Stories booth, Art Lab interns collected community soils and stories for the Denver Soil Bank as well as creatively documented themed walks around Holly Square. They also led a soil street art activity which resulted in a collaborative mural of community storytelling with urban soils.
The Garden: This past Saturday Art Lab with Artist in Residence Jennifer Stratton spent the afternoon with our friends at The Garden in Parkhill. The Garden is community food and events center in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood funded, managed and supported by the members that use it and the community it serves. We had a blast taking a tour of the garden, helping harvest swiss chard, feeding chickens, exchanging recipes, sampling fresh almond milk and granola, and learning about soil composition, sustainable urban gardening and community in this incredible space. They also discussed community meal planning and menu ideas for the upcoming Soil Social event! For many of our Art Lab interns this was their first experience with S-O-U-L (seasonal, organic, unrefined, local) food and harvesting produce including edible weeds. Current Art Lab Intern Ariana Romero describes her experience, “I’ve had a lot of fun learning about soils, food and community storytelling these past couple months. The trip to the garden brought a lot of these things together. It was something new to me. I never ate weeds from the ground and it tasted so good! And the dried squash was as good as chips, if not better! It was a totally new experience to me since I’ve always lived in an urban area.”
Denver Soil Bank Hours are: Tuesday – Friday 12 – 4pm & Saturday 10 – 1pm (Closed Saturday, September 26)
Thank you to the NE Walk Fest and the Garden for making these experiences possible. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the SOIL SOCIAL on Saturday, October 24 as we celebrate the opening exhibition of Jenny Stratton and ArtLab’s new work here at PlatteForum!