Carpenter Art Garden celebrates five years of creativity

A colorful art garden in the heart of Binghampton celebrates five years of community growth and positive change.

Photography, paintings and ceramics created by the Binghampton community will be on display and for sale at the Carpenter Art Garden during its five-year anniversary show on July 21 (rescheduled from June 23 due to possible inclement weather heading into the area).

Carpenter Art Garden from High Ground News on Vimeo.

On Tuesday, June 20, a special event just for the children artists of the art garden was held with the Mighty Soul Brass Band on hand for entertainment, MEMPops giving out icy cool refreshments and a several artists participating in a collaborative freeform street painting.

“The art garden is really about empowering the children and adults in Binghampton to make a difference in their neighborhood,” said Carpenter Art Garden executive director Erin Harris, who is a former elementary school art teacher.

“I just want to use my experience in art to provide a way for kids to make relationships and use art to bring their community together and bring about some positive changes.”

The art show will feature children’s art with a portion of the proceeds going directly to the kids. Also on display will be art from the adults who have taught at the garden through the years, most notably Melissa Dunn, George Hunt, Danny Broadway and Lawrence Matthews among others. The art garden is the producer of the popular wooden Grizzlies yard hearts created by young artist Donte Davis.

The Carpenter Art Garden covers seven properties in Binghampton.

“This summer we’re employing 24 teenagers at the art garden, and they’ve been a part of the art garden since the beginning,” said Harris. “The kids, who started in upper elementary or early middle school and are now in high school or out of high school, still come here regularly. We want to celebrate that. It’s a very emotional subject for me.”

Seven of the eight adult employees of the art garden are Binghampton residents. Six properties on Carpenter Street will be displaying the work, including the Purple House, bike shop, the outdoor stage and the community garden pavilion, to encourage visitors to take a full tour of the area and see the impact that community art programs have on the Binghampton neighborhood.

“We’ll have half of Carpenter Street blocked off Friday evening so that people can tour all the properties, and we’ll have artwork in each area,” said Harris.

The anniversary show on July 21 runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“When I started the art garden five years ago, my intent was to have an outdoor art classroom and that was as far as my plan went. It’s grown to span seven properties in five years based on the needs of the neighborhood,” said Harris.

Carpenter Art Garden just acquired a new piece of property on Tillman Street across from the police precinct, and there are plans to install a new art park there.

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Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.