Brooklyn Artists Eye 'Bike Garden' for Fort Greene

By Janet Upadhye on August 22, 2012 8:42am 

FORT GREENE — A Brooklyn-based artist collective has a vision to open a bike garden in Fort Greene. And with a little luck, and some support from the community, Indigo Hippie CO seems poised to make this a reality.

A bike garden is not a place where bikes are planted and harvested, but a space where people can drop in to fix their bikes, pump their tires or just take in the shade and have a snack.

The collective is currently vying for a $5,000 grant that would pay for tools, generators, bike pumps, a storage shed and a router for free Wi-Fi.

“We’ll literally have tools hanging from trees,” collective member Dashaughn “Dash” Miller said. “People can stop by, grab a wrench, fix their bike, and be on their way.”

Indigo Hippie CO has four core members. Miller, 34, is an audio video engineer and plays bass in the collective’s band; Niki “Zoe” Vickers, 34, is freelance fashion stylist; Juanade Hassan, 33, is a musician and lead vocalist in the band; and Zap Williams, 43, is a chef who caters event.

The collective is only two years old but already has pulled off some major community events. They hosted an event called the Spring Bike Tune-up in Bedstuy Fulton Park in April. They got local bicycle companies and individuals to donate bikes and helmets and then gave them to kids under the age of 13-years-old.

Twenty young people left the event with not only their first bikes, but also some newly learned skills on how to take care of them.

The Indigo Hippie CO band plays at venues throughout the city and also host parties with food, music and a fun atmosphere.

On a recent Sunday night, they threw a party in the Greene Garden, a small plot of land under leafy green trees across DeKalb Avenue from Fort Greene Park. Their band played as curry was served, and neighbors brought camping chairs to sit and listen to their hypnotic sound. The gates to the garden were open to anyone who wanted to stop by, and, within a short time, the space was full.

“We have developed quite a following throughout New York City,” said Vickers. “People show up to out parties and events, not only from Brooklyn, but also from the Bronx and Harlem.”

The Greene Garden is also their proposed spot for the bike garden.

Run by the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, the space is one of 26 plots of land in Brooklyn that are open for community use.

“It had a magical feel,” said Vickers. “We want to create clandestine moments in secret spaces like that throughout Brooklyn.”

The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust is prepared to let the collective use the garden space, and they have entered an arts contest to win the funds.

The Make Good Art Challenge, put on by Los Angeles-based non-profit called, Good Maker, called for proposals from local organizations that want to create change through small projects in their communities.

More than 130 groups from all over the country submitted ideas. Indigo Hippie CO was one of them and if they can pull off the most votes, they will win a grant to start building their bike garden. Community members have just two weeks to vote here, and the polls close Thursday at 3 p.m.

But the Make Good Art Challenge is just one option to make realize their garden.

“With or without this grant, we will make this a reality,” said Miller. “Because we believe in it.”

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