Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UNO Experiences GEEE at the Union

A Foundations Class in Art from the University of Nebraska Omaha joined us at the beginning of our residency.  This evening, we described how GEEE is a community art project and got to entertain discussion of such art as we prepared the soil for our Abundance Garden, transplanted tomato seedlings and prepared containers for a trellis tomato garden.

 Overflow holes were drilled.

Watering tubes were cut.

The containers were filled with lava rock at the reservoir, then soil, lime and fertilizer..

We ran out of lava rock, so the students and a younger volunteer used gravel from the alley.

 Meanwhile, other volunteers were scraping the groundcover from the Abundance Garden location.

Rocks, brick and glass were removed from the soil before tilling.

Amanda had the most experience tilling, so she showed us how.

We added manure and humus to the soil, adding nutrients and aerating the clayeous soil.

We ended up preparing a bed 6 feet wide on the north and east sides of the facility.

Yes, Patrick took a turn at the tiller, too.

We ended the evening with a hot dog roast.  The time working side-by-side with the students allowed us to talk about community art and conceptual art projects.  As a requirement for their class, each student was then required to propose a project based on their experience with GEEE, but in their individual artistic voices.  We wish them luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GEEE Meets the Union

The Union for Contemporary Art is a fledgling art center established in January 2011 as a resource to retain and foster local artists and members of it’s creative community. The Union offers opportunities for exhibition and critical reviews for emerging artists, and brings national arts leaders to Omaha in ways which allow for meaningful interaction. The Union also offers affordable studio space and the equipment necessary to support their creative process.

Their facility is a former food bank in the neighborhood of North Omaha.  The North Omaha community has been designated by the City of Omaha to be an Area of Low-Income Concentration and an Area of Minority Concentration. The area contains some of Omaha’s most physically, economically and socially distressed neighborhoods.

In February 2012, the facility opened its first studio spaces for artists representing fiber arts, sculpture and film-making. For more information on the Union for Contemporary Art, please visit their website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GEEE Goes To Omaha!

In conjunction with an artist exchange program organized by the Stockyard Institute in development between the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago) and Union for Contemporary Art (Omaha), Cream Co. has been invited to introduce Omaha to GEEE!

We proposed to install a post-retail Trading Post for a BIG DIG GIG event and to establish an
Abundance Garden at the Union of Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska.

So we loaded up the truck and the wagon with our abundance of plants and some of our tools to hit the road.

BIG DIG GIG Hyde Park Plants That Came In On Trade

 Debrah brought in these plants.

And she left this lovely note.  As we say, we're exposing an economy that exists between neighbors, and this is exactly the type of note one gets from a neighbor.

BIG DIG GIG Preparations

Since Hyde Park is virtually a garden-store-desert, we brought in an elevator load of perennials, herbs, and pretties for the event.  According to our trade calendar, we had more trades this May than ever, we attribute part of this to an intense spring fever, so we wanted plants available!

We made signs for each of the dozens heirloom tomato varieties we had available for sale or trade. 

Of each variety, we had literally hundreds available. 

We were careful to evenly represent all the varieties on the roof garden.

We decided to offer plants at special prices to insure the plants would get out into the community.

BIG DIG GIG Hyde Park 2012!

May 26th and 27th Cream Co. hosted Hyde Park's third annual BIG DIG GIG.  It was a garden party celebrating neighbors trading overgrown perenials from their yards, celebrating donations to the art center's Abundance Garden, and celebrating the opening of the second annual rooftop heirloom tomato garden.

Guests browsed the plants and traded gift items. 

We helped people choose the healthiest varieties based on their preferences.  Then loaded them with tips on how to grow the plants to optimize health and fruit production.

We offered some light refreshments.

Judith, an HPAC board member, regular GEEE trader and friend, brought some spice bread for us to share.

One guest came prepared to work, so we taught her how to make some self-watering containers to transplant some pot-bound herbs.

A Northwestern University graduate student in Journalism heard about the event and covered it for their news.

Free Plants

Now that gardens are coming in full force, people are bringing in perennials for trade or donating them, available for free.