Monday night marked the opening of GARLiC, an art initiative in the Hill to encourage green artistic endeavors while helping the environment.
GARLiC’s mission is to “encourage ‘upcycling’ and green art as a means to reduce consumer spending, increase art appreciation, and help the environment by reducing municipal waste in ethnically diverse, low income, urban neighborhoods.”
The event took place on Lamberton Street on the second floor of Ascension in the Hill, a church where GARLiC will be renting out the space “for this fiscal year completely rent free, to see if I can get something going for this community,” said Sarah Raven, the program director.
Raven’s presented her idea to Christ Church downtown back in December. “They loved the idea. They own this property and were looking for an interesting program to occupy this space and that would benefit Hill residents.”
“We take art, beauty, and the environment very seriously, so we love what Sarah is doing. We’re very supportive of this because of how great of an impact it’s going to have on the community,” said Father David Cobb (pictured above with Raven) of Christ Church.
GARLiC will be holding classes throughout the week, including one on pine cone recycling. “You can take a pine cone that exists in nature and make something out of it. There’s so much waste in the community,” said Raven. There will also be open studio time on Saturdays.
Through the help of volunteers, they were able to transform the once unoccupied space into a creative place to “let families and children have a chance to go somewhere, explore, and be creative,” said Raven.
One of these volunteers includes Rick Durance, who works at the Community Soup Kitchen on Broadway. “We think the Hill is a really important part of New Haven, and it’s really crucial to be here and be present. Plus, there are tons of way you make art from recycled materials,” he said. In the future, Durance hopes to eventually hold his own class.
Another volunteer was Chris McDaniel (pictured above with Raven), who gardened the entire property: “It was a mess before I cleaned it up. I hadn’t seen it since the end of fall, but it looks great!”
As for the meaning of GARLiC, the name stands for “Green Art Reclaiming Life in Communities.” Its organizers see the name as “a metaphor for the power of creation. Members of GARLiC will explore together the needs of society and will offer hope through a meaningful outlet.”
Ariela Martin, an Independent contributing reporter, is a student at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School.