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'Theater Garden' in Uptown Kicks Off Summer of Programs

By Adeshina Emmanuel | June 25, 2014 7:59am | Updated on June 26, 2014 8:49am
 Uptown "Theater Garden" Aims to "Bring the Community Together"
Uptown Theater Garden
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UPTOWN — Art and gardening meet in Uptown at the Winthrop Harmony Arts Garden, where kids and families can look forward to an array of events this summer.

A crew of area Chicago Public School students spent much of last summer whipping a vacant lot into shape and transforming it into a "theater garden" where community members can plant vegetables, flowers and fruits as well as enjoy arts and community events.

Martie Sanders, founder of the Green Scene gardening and arts education program, instructed the kids and led their efforts, which created the Winthrop Harmony Arts Garden and has spawned "Project Tap Root," a summer full of arts programming to be hosted there.

Project Tap Root features hands-on gardening lessons, games and live performances of hip hop, jazz, spoken word and theater.

"Now in a year's time we have garnered some neighborhood partners," Sanders said. "Our hope is to bring as many people as we can on the site that want to learn gardening, grow the community and have a space open for people to create arts programming."

Green Scene Chicago has partnered with eight area schools and community organizations that are now gardening there, including John T. McCutcheon Elementary School, Uplift Community High School, the Chinese Mutual Aid Association and the 48th Ward.

Sanders said that the Muhammad Ali Center awarded her a "Peace Garden Grant" that will fund the development of a herb and flower cutting bed so locals can take home flowers "or spices to their dinner table." The center provided $100 in cash and $400 in seeds, tools and supplies, Sanders said.

The youth in this year's Green Scene program have plans for an Aug. 2 play they will put on using stories and reflections gathered from Uptown residents.

For a full schedule of Project Tap Root events, click here.

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