COMMUNITY ACTIVISM

1995 – 2010

With a group of four other artists, who pooled the proceeds of a joint exhibit, and a friend, I founded Gardens for Humanity. In the early days it was dedicated to catalyzing or building gardens in places of need: schools, hospitals, urban empty lots, reservations. We completed 28 gardens by catalyzing, by funding, or actually building them. Our most rewarding experience was with elementary school children — their enthusiasm for learning gardening and natural history was heartwarming.

West Sedona School Mural - Adele Seronde - Sedona, Arizona

Photo by Amy Gordon

In the past two years our emphasis has been on encouraging groups to take responsibility for maintaining their gardens rather than our doing most of the maintenance. The crucial solution is to find for each garden a dedicated person who has a knowledge and passion for gardens, who can teach and share this responsibility with others.

Also, we are seeing a transformation in people’s attitudes towards gardening. With the economic crisis the first concern is for food, but there is more desire to work together to change wasteful habits and use resources of wind, sun, water and biofuels to build a more self-sufficient economy. Our schools are beginning to include classes in gardening and our environment. When care of the Earth becomes central to the curriculum, related to all other subjects, we will see how easily teachers can incorporate this new knowledge within rigid timeframes and regulations.

West Sedona School Mural & Garden - Adele Seronde - Sedona, Arizona

Photo by Amy Gordon

We are helping to plant gardens in the heart, mind and imagination as well as in the soil. We have visionaries amongst us, both unknown and famous, people of integrity and courage who inspire us to realize our own powers of healing. In my new book, Our Sacred Garden – the Living Earth, I tell the extraordinary stories of many visionaries, some of whom are featured on the Gardens for Humanity web site.

1989 – 1994

I was Secretary for the International Friends of Transformative Arts, an art organization dedicated to spiritual art.

1973 – 1980

While President of the Christian A. Herter Center, Boston. We featured environmental arts, urban gardening, and alternative technologies. We helped catalyze the planting of community gardens throughout the city.

1968 – 1971

Coordinator of Visual Arts for Summerthing, Boston’s Neighborhood Arts Program, organized after the riots caused by Martin Luther King’s murder to rebuild and humanize city environments through the arts. Under the direction of innovative state legislator, Katherine D. Kane who enlisted community cooperation and participation, this summer festival actually did succeed in changing the psychological climate of Boston. This innovative program was seminal and is still used as a template today for Urban Arts programs.  

mural in chinatown (sonya kovacic)

Links to more about Summerthing:

Architects.org

Urbandezine

Bostonologist