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Longtime Dean Street Garden Seeks Submissions for Annual Art Show

By Sonja Sharp | July 26, 2013 10:47am
 A Dean Street community garden is calling for submissions from local artists for its annual outdoor gallery.
Walt L. Shamel Garden in Crown Heights
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CROWN HEIGHTS — A decades-old Dean Street garden will transform into an artists' oasis this summer, with a growing gallery space that's unlike any other.

"We wanted to give artists a space where they could network and show their art without the pressure of fees or that feeling of, 'I must sell something to make my money back,'" said Greg Anderson, president of the Walt L. Shamel Community Garden, which has featured fruits, flowers and feathered fowl at 1099 Dean St. for nearly 30 years.

"It’s a way of bringing the community together so that neighbors know each other, and to showcase artists."

Organizers launched the show, now in its fifth year, as a way for artists to display and sell their work in a no-frills way. The garden seeks submissions from local artists but also features pieces from participants citywide.

Previous shows have featured a diverse selection of what the organizers call "family-friendly" work by artists from around the city. 

"We’ve had everything from wood sculpture to photography to T-shirts and jewelry," Anderson said. "It’s open to all art forms."

The garden itself is something of a mixed-media project. Salvaged from the remains of two fire-ravaged buildings in the '80s, the little-known lot earned its New York City Parks Department GreenThumb designation in the early 2000s, and has been offering neighbors a verdant place to plant or simply enjoy the sunshine ever since.

"Sometimes people don’t realize that it’s really open and it’s there for everybody," said Karen Sloan, who coordinates the art show and other garden gatherings. "Growing and having an open space is part of our mission, but another big part of our mission is to have events to encourage people to come in and use the garden and enjoy it."

Among those events are a weekly farmers market from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday and a free outdoor summer movie series, the last screening of which will feature the Disney-Pixar movie "Monsters Inc." on Friday, July 26, at 8 p.m.

But it's the Aug. 17 arts show, complete with food and live music, that really makes the garden glow.  

"It's our signature event that we have every year," Sloan said.  "We’re looking for artists of all mediums to participate and come show their work."

Those interested in submitting their work for consideration should email the gardeners at WLSGardenArtShow@gmail.com