Erin Stack was our gracious host for the Alchemical Garden in Newburyport, as well as the manager of the New Eden Collaborative, a community garden, at the First Parish Church in Newburyport. The Alchemical Garden is truly a gem a midst stones and we would never have known the importance of the garden or how amazing the work of natural plants can be without Erin.
Hi, my name is Erin Stack and I am a member of the Green Artists League (GAL).
GAL is an interdisciplinary collective of artists who have come together to create public art that addresses the global environmental crisis. Viewing art as an agent for transformation, GAL engages the public through participatory art experiences. It is GAL’s hope that by engaging the public as co-creators, we challenge and empower people to adopt environmentally sustainable behaviors and attitudes.
One of GAL’s primary strategies is to inspire change is through “Articulture”, which is the process of cultivating a living, community art space – a dynamic and sustainable “eco-creative system”. GAL collaborates with members of the community in the co-creation of environmental art parks and gardens that nourish the community and inspire a more intimate and conscious relationship with Nature.
GAL was delighted to have the women from New England Climate Summer come and visit for a work party at our most ambitious articulture project, the Alchemical Garden.
The Alchemical Garden, located near the industrial park on the Newburyport Clipper City Rail Trail, acts as a living laboratory by using plants to remediate the heavy metals in the soil in preparation for the site as a living art park and organic, permaculture garden. Upon completion of this multi-year project, there will be educational signage, garden paths, seating areas, sculpted plant structures, art, and edible fruits and berries available to users of the rail trail and it will provide an inviting space for people to enjoy the outdoors and reflect upon the history and future of the area. The Alchemical Garden hopes to educate the public about soil contamination and remediation, wild life habitats, sustainable horticulture and food production and be a base for community participatory art performances.
The Alchemical Garden is now in its second year of “cultivation” and relies on community support and volunteerism to move our project toward fruition. This year we have planted 5 crop circles and a remediation field of Spring Wheat that will help to remove toxins from the mildly contaminated soil and help people to connect to the natural state of the food. During their visit, Climate Action Summer spent the morning planting assorted varieties of heirloom shell beans. These “Alchemical beans of transformation” will eventually be harvested and offered freely to the public as seeds for future sustainability.
The Alchemical Garden is designed and created by GAL artists Deb Cinnamon, Tim Gaudreau, Erin Stack, Permaculture consultant Charlotte Dion and many members of the Greater Newburyport community. For more information on the Green Artists League and the Alchemical Garden, please go to www.greenartistsleague.org.