Edna White Community Garden Branching Out

The Edna White Community Garden is taking on “more eclectic offerings” in its 18th year, according to Kathy Figel, garden executive director.

“We can’t be all things to all people but we can be all-inclusive for those who support us,” said Figel. “The current state of the garden is perfectly suited to introduce new programs that speak to the entire community.”

Last fall’s successful peace initiative brought a broader base of community members to the garden for music, poetry, speeches and prayers for peace. Participants expressed a desire to use the space in more creative ways. To that end, Figel welcomed creative people Edna White to express themselves. Those people are providing programs and events that neighbors can enjoy.

Life-long Beverly/Morgan Park resident Cathy Sorich tapped her experiences as a visual artist to create mural art cutouts of butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs. Children and adults alike can step into the stationary figure to “become” the insect.  “I’ve seen mural art where people stand in front of wings and take photos,” said Sorich.  “I thought it would be a great idea and perfect fit for our community garden, as well a way to help get more people familiar with the garden’s beauty firsthand.”

Matthew Doherty, also a Beverly/Morgan Park resident, volunteered to cut out and prep all the cutout material as well as paint the art pieces on display.  Doherty is donating most of the paint and prep materials from his personal workshop.  A sign maker, Doherty is known to many for his “Christmas Block” displays on 99th and Campbell. “Cathy Sorich and I are longtime friends,” said Doherty.  “This is our first collaboration together and we’re thrilled to have Edna White as the backdrop.”  Volunteer students from Fenger and Julian high schools will create the cement base to stabilize the life-size cutouts.

Yoga classes of all offerings have been building interest through the summer and will continue, “weather permitting,” into the fall.  Erin Kelly and Joan Zigulich are the teachers.  Kelly instructs a “goddess flow” class for women at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.  Several Thursday nights, Kelly guides the movement and percussionist Brendan McAlinden weaves in sound patterns with nature to engage the spirit and twilight.  Zigulich brings a fresh new approach to yoga at 6 a.m. on Fridays.

Bicycle art will adorn the outer garden sidewalks featuring vintage bikes and saluting ours as one of the city’s most bike-friendly communities. Figel welcomes more “no longer functional yet classic in styling” bicycles.

Fall dates are being considered for the 2nd Annual Gathering for Peace. Persons interested in helping should contact Figel through the Edna White Gardens Facebook page.

“Edna White Garden’s evolution into more of a community gathering hub is becoming a reality,” said Figel.

In the past five years, the Edna White Community Garden has added more vegetable beds, greater synergy with local school student volunteer programs, stronger ties with the Beverly Area Planning Association and an overall awareness in the community. Participants are encouraged to  “friend” Edna White Garden on Facebook to remain updated on classes and view day-of announcements.


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