Being in Chicago, we’re no strangers to the magical art of gardens. This year, Lillstreet has joined the Montrose Metra Community Garden, and we’re so excited to bring this experiential learning to our arts-based classes.
In our first Kidstreet camp visit to plot #22, we learned how garden experiences can increase our knowledge of art and creativity. Faith Zabin, Lillstreet’s resident gardener, taught our Bugs & Butterflies campers a lot of things we didn’t know!
What kind of plants do we grow?
One of Lillstreet’s goals is to use the garden to inspire creativity and the senses. Many of the plants we grow support sensory experiences:
- Smell: Herbs & Flowers
- Taste: Vegetables & Herbs
- Touch: Plants with great textures (Lambs Ear = Fuzzy!)
- See: Colorful flowers, plants we can use for natural dyes and bugs hard at work!
- Hear: Trains! We learn how a garden can co-exist with life in the city.
What can a garden teach us?
Gardens are pretty amazing in that they teach us across disciplines. Gardens provide lessons in:
Gardens provide an inspiration of the senses. Understanding the garden as an art form – its colors, design, architecture and functionality – aids in developing a unique, creative perspective.
We learn lessons in nature, including biological processes from seed to fruit, symbiotic relationships between plants and insects, nutrition and biodiversity.
In a garden, we find an interactive way to bring numbers to life – including counting seeds, measuring plant spacing, and calculating days to harvest from dates planted.
Gardens give us all a broader view of our community. They show us how to giving back to the community with harvests, and support social connections such as cooperation, responsibility, sharing, taking turns, and respect for others and nature.
We look forward to bringing Lillstreet to our garden (and the garden to Lillstreet!). Thanks to the efforts of the Montrose Metra Community Garden, which is part of the Chicago Community Gardners Association. Click here to learn more about their initiative.
Meet Kidstreet Director, Anna Lentz
Anna received her MFA in Arts Education from SAIC, and is passionate about experimental learning. As an artist herself, she believes that making and thinking about art encourages students to see, question and think about our natural worlds in a way that may be alternative, new and even critical of their social, political and cultural forces that influence our natural places.
Meet Lillstreet’s Resident Gardner, Faith Zabin
Faith Zabin is a Chicago-based organic gardener who loves to teach people of all ages how to grow their own food. She currently maintains the flower, herb and vegetable gardens at Lillstreet Art Center. She also grows for local chefs and private clients. Visit vivantgardens.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.