The Sunday Breakfast Farm installation is a unique approach to get the men in the Overcomers Program of the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission involved in an endeavor where the farm's harvest is a tangible reward for their efforts. Since March 2015, beside building the farm with the Overcomers and the community, I started a program with class sessions over the course of 4 months for the Overcomers to learn about urban farming. Topics such as seed starting, tomato plant pruning, proper water techniques, mulching/composting and harvesting were covered. Advanced techniques for urban, high production growing are being used and taught at the installation so participants can stay off the streets and gain a skill set that would enable them to be employed at or start up their own urban ag operation on one the city’s vacant lots. The class sessions include cooking demonstrations that are encouraging the Overcomers to incorporate fresh produce into their diets. .
Five months in and the farm is not only looking beautiful but has been providing fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs for the rescue mission kitchen. They're also selling at local farmers markets. In converting an underutilized space of the mission's parking lot into an urban farm, my art is engrained in the design of site. The growing area’s large planters have a vivid color scheme with contrasting shapes and textures. Tall trellises with swirling vines mask an ugly block wall. The men in the Overcomers Program that tend the farm often spend time talking with curious people that walk in from the street inquiring about the project. I've noticed that some of the participants have really improved their interpersonal skills through this process of interacting with the public.
The Sunday Breakfast Farm is already building community by bringing together diverse groups, new and old residents, the homeless population and the staffs of participating organizations. Everyone involved with this project is excited about its prospects and I am too. It’s all so uplifting.
Watch documentry film here for Sunday Breakfast Farm -Grow Food Where You Live, film by Natasha Cohen-Carroll
Click here for the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission farm design concept.
Click here for documentry photos for this on going project.
Read article by The Philadelphia Inquirer and article by Grid Magazine.
Read article by Flying Kite Media and Generocity article.
The Sunday Breakfast Farm was created in collaboration with the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission as part of the Social Practice Lab artist residency program of Asian Arts Initiative, a community arts center in Philadelphia, PA. www.asianartsinitiative.org
North Chinatown lost its last community garden with the building of the Vine Street Expressway through the neighborhood. My project started as a way to show residents there that they could make up for this loss by growing food even in unlikely places. Longer term, I wanted to build interest in establishing a new community garden that could help offset some of the food insecurity, rapid gentrification and homelessness facing the residents.
The first phase of the project included starting a garden on the sidewalk in a discarded plastic sofa. The small garden was very productive and attracted the attention of many residents that had retained their interest for gardening.
Click here for documentry photos for this on going project.
Collaboration project with SpArc Services and The Foundry(Philadelphia Salvage). The interactive outdoor installation is installed in front of SpArc Services building in Tioga, formerly the Philadelphia Developmental Disabilities Corporation, which provides vocational training and job opportunities to intellectually and physically disabled adults. I worked on this project with SpArc Services staff and their participants to bring an engaging art-making experience that included gardening and musical themes. Thank you for the generous donation made by The Foundry for the salvage pianos/parts and providing workshop space for us to work on the project.
The public is invited to view the "Musical Garden" installation at SpArc Services, 2350 W. Westmoreland St., from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The interactive piano display is on the left side of the building entrance; the interactive mural/harps, vegetable and herb garden is on the right. Parking is available on the street. There is also a small lot inside SpArc's gates.
Click here for more information about the project and documentry photos.
Read article by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Press Release.
See more amazing photos by photographer Tracy Ann Mueller.
"There's a beauty in preserving food in traditional ways. That is my inspiration for this installation. I have preserved many home grown vegetables and herbs. I'm also inspired by my farmer friends, their many amazing methods of preserving food and their willingness to share with others. Also while researching for traditional Indian tepees, I was inspired by the beauty of it. I wanted to put these two factors that inspired me in my art installation to inspire people to preserve their own food." - Meei Ling Ng
Market attendees were given fresh red, orange and yellow chile peppers to attach to the structure and returned for their dried peppers to enjoy at home. I like to thank The Food Trust "Art at Market: Local Food, Local Art" program for including me as their featured artist. Click here for more info and photos.
Thousands of people saw my "Sowing Farmer" sculpture installation at the South Street Night Market! While they were sitting down on the hay bales enjoying their meal, they became part of the installation elements.
I like to thank The Food Trust/Night Market and The Magic Garden/Art Gage for including me as a featured artist for this amazing event. Click here for more info and photos.
In a sense, this sculpture started out as a crowdsourced piece at the Philadelphia Bloktoberfest, 2012. The event is an annual Octoberfest-type music and craft beer street fair put on by The South of South Neighborhood Assoc. The crowd (+20,000) was encouraged to participate in the making of the sculpture. They helped wash and paint the discarded beer cups and even helped with the attachment of the cups on the frame. The sculpture took form as the festival went on into the evening. We suspended the mostly completed sculpture high up in the middle of South Street and it lit up the surrounding area. I completed the sculpture in my studio in time for Snowball-Junk exhibit.
Found, recycled, and reclaimed materials: used beer cups from the Bloktoberfest, found chicken wire, discarded fabrics, LED light
Click here to see more about this installation, documentary process and images.
My latest installation, Deep Roots ll "Days and Nights on the Farm" was held at Weavers Way's Mort Brooks Memorial Farm working in collaboration with Weavers Way Co-op, Awbury Arboretum, Philadelphia Open Studios Tour (POST) and lighting Designer Jackson Kay. By combining a farm festival with an art installation our aim was to spread the message that urban farms by necessity need to be multi-use spaces not just for growing food. This installation concentrated on storytelling and the subject was growing food where people live and highlights the interconnection of nature, farms, our food system and our communities. There were nine installations spread throughout the farm. Using different art installations to represent different concerns that we have to overcome or to even recognize.
The exhibit was consider very successful in term of attendance and our goals. We had lots of interaction and questions from over 400 visitors during the two days event. My collaborators were thrilled with the results that we had approached and raised awareness on the importance of farming by expanding the audience past foodies to art lovers and beyond.
Click here to see more about this installation, images, slideshow and documentary video.
The "Deep Roots" installation part of the Turtle Artisans Tour on May 5 & 6 was considered very successful. The installation was a collaboration with Michaelann Velicky, a local permaculturalist. My art was installed around her beautiful urban farm in Elkins Park. During the two days of the tour there was a steady stream of people visiting the exhibit, in total over 200 visitors. Many from the neighborhood (Cheltenham Twp.) and many also from the city. During setup, the week prior, neighbors walking by were curious to see the installation even before we opened. Many left with a smiling face and at the same time learned something from the exhibit. And that was our goal - use the art installation as a tool to teach about sustainable living and farming in an urban environment. We had lots of interaction and questions from visitors. The Chicken Tractor and the Eco-System Chess Board, both functional art, seemed to be the most popular features of the installation. Michaelann and I were thrilled with the results. Also, my sincere thanks go out to everyone involved that made this exhibition possible and successful.
The Chicken Tractor is designed and created based on Michaelann specific needs for her front yard farm. From the size needed for the number of chickens to the weight and shade, door and materials use, all had to be thought through before the art form was created. Using found/recycled materials. The chicken feathers are made from discarded irrigation drip tape donated from Weavers Way's Mort Brooks Farm. The Chicken Tractor is a moveable cage to keep chickens confined to one area of a garden bed so that they can "debug, weed and fertilize" the bed before new plantings.
Michaelann and I came up with this idea while brainstorming on art/education tools for the garden. We were excited about this idea and thought it would be something fun to play while at the same time teach permaculture concepts. The Eco-System Chess Board is a design based on the farm site plan, including the house (front, side and backyard). Chess pieces are part of the game, learning about different elements connected to each other and how it affected each other when you place them in different spots. A great permaculture education tool. I used found, recycled and reclaimed materials such as scrap wood, form board and fabric.
To see more “Deep Roots” art installation images, slideshow and documentary video., go to the Installation page.
Special thanks to my photographer friend, Sang Cun who took all these beautiful photographs.