Monday, August 8, 2011

Another way to make the neighborhood beautiful

We’ve been doing a lot of beautification events this summer and we’ve talked about nearly all of them here on the blog. But neighborhood beautification can mean a lot more than patrolling the streets picking up trash or planting flowers. It can also involve art.

A few months ago, we were contacted by Tracey Obenour who, along with her husband, paints murals on buildings. She wanted to do a mural on the building over on East 5th Street building that would capture the spirit of the urban farm there and of urban farming in general. Of course, we were more than happy to agree.

The project was started in April, and the first week of August, we got an email from Tracey saying that the mural was about 90% finished and she wanted to know what we thought. We rushed right over and, as we drove into the lot, we had to smile.

Tracey’s mural certainly does capture the spirit and the essence of urban farming, and is beautiful to boot. It gives a whole, new, fresh look to a building that was serviceable but plain and, frankly, industrial. Now, it is cheerful and bright, and it will bring a touch of spring and summer even during the harshest of winter months.

While we were there, we took a look at the progress of the crops planted by volunteers this spring. Wow! Were we pleased! Tomato plants shoulder high, teeming with cheery and regular-sized fruit; beans that had grown, had been harvested by Ken and his volunteers; chives that were spreading over the ground, ready to reseed themselves; and even a couple of melons, tempting us in the summer heat.

Gardening has its pleasures, not the least of which is the witnessing of the growing and maturing process. To see a plant grow from a seedling to a mature, productive adult has the feel of a small, natural miracle and never fails to bring a smile.

Together with the great mural Tracey and her husband created, that small part of East 5th Street is a whole lot better than it was at the beginning of the year.

And we’re very thankful to Tracey, Ken, and of course, all the volunteers who made that possible.

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