Summertime Fun 2019

This summer, along with the Ceramic Stories gardening and storytelling sessions (more on those soon), I’ve done a pop-up park event with the New York Restoration Project and ran a planting-sensory table at Art in The Park’s autism family fun day.

I love having the opportunity to work outside in the summer, it’s a nice change of pace from classrooms and opens up whole new forms of engagement.

At the Sherman Creek pop-up park event, I set up a community mural for people to fill out.

I used a long roll of white butcher paper, glued on a green construction paper stem, yellow center, and asked “What makes Inwood Bloom?” Admittedly, I got some help from NYRP's education with the lettering since I don't have the neatest handwriting.

The activity being to fill out the flower with people's favorite things about the uptown community. I pre-cut petals of teal, red, and pink for people to write their answers and then glue on, creating a mural of flower petals that extended across the paper. Some of the most common answers were “the people” and “the parks” and I’m inclined to agree.

Photo of art mural on fold out table. The mural is on a long white sheet of paper and covered with “flower petals” in red, teal, and pink all with writing on it that is indiscernible at this distance. “What makes Inwood Bloom” is written in multi-colored large letter up top. On the mural can also be seen some writing and doodles. The table has some rocks on it, holding the paper, supplies, and other objects down in the wind.

Photo of art mural on fold out table. The mural is on a long white sheet of paper and covered with “flower petals” in red, teal, and pink all with writing on it that is indiscernible at this distance. “What makes Inwood Bloom” is written in multi-colored large letter up top. On the mural can also be seen some writing and doodles. The table has some rocks on it, holding the paper, supplies, and other objects down in the wind.

For Art in the Park’s Autism Family Fun Day I ran a table with flower pot painting and planting. It was a condensed version of the three-week Ceramic Stories programs I run with NYRP. Since this was a one day event I had families come and paint the pots, not necessarily creating a story, just having fun.

Once the painting was done I left them to dry and told the families to come back in a few minutes to do the planting. There was a lot to do at the fun day, so it was an easy enough request. There was grilling going on (including black bean burgers for the veggies like me!), non-profits tabling, sensory spaces, and a table full of free books that was run by a speech therapist.

Autism Family Fun day grill set up, families and children are in the foreground of a shot of a food line. Tables in the background have the food on them and in the top right of the photo the grill master cooks while smoke can be seen coming off the grill.

Autism Family Fun day grill set up, families and children are in the foreground of a shot of a food line. Tables in the background have the food on them and in the top right of the photo the grill master cooks while smoke can be seen coming off the grill.

Inflatable, plastic swimming pool with an inflatable palm tree in the middle of it situated on a piece of asphalt. The pool is filled with water-bead sensory materials.

Inflatable, plastic swimming pool with an inflatable palm tree in the middle of it situated on a piece of asphalt. The pool is filled with water-bead sensory materials.

When they were dry and the families came back, I had the kids add the soil, seeds (marigolds or poppies), a little bit of water, and then sent them on their way with some care instructions. The soil and seeds for the planting were donated by Urban Garden Center, an amazing garden store in East Harlem. If you’re in NYC check them out next time you have any gardening needs!

Entrance to the store “Urban Garden Center” The store's name is in large green block letters on a wooden frame with the word “Urban” being the largest. In the background can be seen plants and garden supplies such as fencing as well as signs denoting the stores hours and sales.

Entrance to the store “Urban Garden Center” The store's name is in large green block letters on a wooden frame with the word “Urban” being the largest. In the background can be seen plants and garden supplies such as fencing as well as signs denoting the stores hours and sales.

The event was a huge success! Shawnique, the Art in the Park director, had one-hundred people signed up on the eventbrite and I imagine most, if not all, showed up along with families who came off the street when they heard the fun! We went through all the pots and paint over the course of the day and a lot of families left with new plants to care for!

Events like these makes the summers so fun, but it also makes them fly by! The second session of Ceramic Stories will be starting next week in Sherman Creek and it’s hard to believe that’s already here!

Painted flower pots arranged on plates dry beside a tree. There are names on the plates that denote whose pot is whose, but the writing is difficult to discern at this distance. In the middle of the pots are two large bags of soil. In the background can be seen a sidewalk chalk welcome to Autism Family Fun Day.

Painted flower pots arranged on plates dry beside a tree. There are names on the plates that denote whose pot is whose, but the writing is difficult to discern at this distance. In the middle of the pots are two large bags of soil. In the background can be seen a sidewalk chalk welcome to Autism Family Fun Day.


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