Summer of Solutions Worcester: It’s Artgarden Weather!

So there’s this giant community garden, right? And part of it is a huge plot filled with stalks of corn, but each ear is a can of spraypaint or a giant crayon or some sort of crazy crafty thing. The rest of the garden is full of regular plants, and there are people busily moving around, picking art and planting art and picking food and planting food. You look at it and you think to yourself “Wow, that’s some sort of amazing artgarden that spews fruit and beauty into the world. I want in on that!”

That’s how the SoS team envisions Worcester. It might not even be far from the truth. Worcester has quite a few hugely active community groups, whether they’re active in one neighborhood, the whole city, or throughout central Massachusetts. Last year, Summer of Solutions was one of those, working with gardens, spreading information on green job creation, and creating a Weatherization group that lives on to this day.

This summer, SoS 2010 is going to build on our old projects and pick up new ones. We will be continuing to partner with the existing Worcester groups interested in Community Gardening, we’ll expand our plots from last year, and we will create new plots and help foster communities of action around each of these gardens. We hope to work with the Regional Environmental Council – a group who does fantastic work within and around Worcester, especially with regards to community gardening – to make this set of projects run smoothly and integrate with extant projects.

On the art front, we have a vision of a city where empty spaces don’t stare vacantly at us. We want them to smile, to wave, to get a little chuckle from someone walking by or make them think for a minute. To that end, we’re going to focus on getting more art onto the streets of Worcester. Some ideas for projects this summer include putting up a temporary sculpture in Elm Park, working with local business owners to paint murals, to host a fully green recycled fashion show, and to have DIY workshops. Only the summer can tell which will happen, but we’ve got an inside tip that it will be “all of them and more.”

Amanda's Thrifty Owljacket

Beyond that, we’re happy to announce that we will continue working on weatherization with the Worcester Energy Barn Raisers, a group of working to raise awareness and host community barn raisings where people get together to weatherize needy houses, teaching skills and helping to create greener buildings. We’ll also be hosting potlucks, skillshares, movie screenings, community fires, and whatever other awesome events we can think of.

All of the organizers are super-excited by how this summer’s shaping up. We’ve made it through a slightly rough time for planning but applicants and ideas are rolling in. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be holding more Information Sessions and another Visioning Confluence – a space where members of the community can share ideas and collectively design projects. Our first visioning session went fantastically well, and our next will really finalize our plans  for the summer; the date isn’t quite hammered out yet, but you should probably keep the evening of April 26th free if you’re around Worcester.

SoS will also be hanging out at Worcester Vegfest at Worcester State College on Saturday, April 17th, from 12-5pm; come say hi! The event’s free, and  wonderful vegan food will abound.

The sun’s out, trees and flowers are blooming, and we’re coming out of hibernation. In Worcester, the summer’s starting early – and so are the solutions.

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