The Carpenter Art Garden’s mission is to work with the children of Binghampton to promote each one’s creative potential and self-worth through exposure to artistic, educational, and vocational programs. The Carpenter Art Garden is working towards this end by creating meaningful and impactful after school programming that nurtures the talents of neighborhood children. Programs are offered on the six Carpenter Art Garden properties on Carpenter Street. These properties include:
- The Art Garden – 295 Carpenter Street - The garden is a creative space where children gather each Tuesday to create art and build relationships. When the Art Garden was founded in 2012, there was no art at Lester or Cornerstone schools. Art is an essential part of achieving success in school, work and life. Every week volunteers meet with approximately 50 students to work on take home art projects and permanent art installations.
- The Purple House – 301 Carpenter Street - Our multipurpose indoor space hosts tutoring, mentoring groups, small group art lessons, community meetings and meals, computer access, a laundry co-op for families and employment for children and adults. Programs are offered every day after school and during the summer.
- 2 Community Gardens – The two gardens provide skills training, community building, and a space for families to grow healthy eating options. In addition, teens and the community garden coordinator are tending boxes that supply a booth at the Overton Park Farmers Market and a traveling vegetable stand in the neighborhood.
- Carpenter St. Workshop – 296 Carpenter Street - This workshop space provides vocational training and job placement opportunities for teens. Currently focused on bike mechanics, and sewing are among the future curriculum offerings.
- Mosaic Art Park — This community space inspired by The Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia honors Binghampton community members through public art. An existing retaining wall lining the recently cleared lot has been covered by clay tiles made by children and adults in the neighborhood. Transforming this blighted lot to a space of beauty brings pride and hope to the neighborhood.
Current Carpenter Art Garden creative, educational and vocational programs include:
- Tutoring/Homework Help- Students meet with tutors Monday-Thursday to work on homework assignments, projects, and areas of improvement in their studies.
- Mentoring groups - Children meet in small groups with adult mentors once a month. This is a time for learning and relationship building. Some of these mentoring groups have met for years.
- Small group art lessons - Local artists are invited to teach small group art lessons to 8-10 students at a time in a series of classes. These classes are specific to the visiting artist’s expertise and with a series spanning over 2-8 classes. This program is designed to bring in a diverse group of local artists to lead small group art classes. Through participation in these classes, the students will gain skills, inspiration to further develop talents and a clear insight into the world of art making as a profession.
- Greenline Ride - Volunteers lead students on a bicycle ride once a week. Any student can participate in this ride with a bicycle and helmet provided by the bike shop. This ride is designed to provide exercise and to practice bike riding etiquette.
- ACT Prep - High school students meet with young professionals and college students to practice for the ACT.
- Comic Club - This group of middle school boys meet with a Memphis College of Art graduate to design and develop comics and animated work.
- Ladies Night - A monthly meeting for women in the neighborhood. This is an opportunity to relax, get to know and bond with other women in the community.
- Community Meals - These meals are hosted for Binghampton community members as a time for fellowship.
- Garden Club - This group meets once a week to work in the community vegetable gardens and to sell produce from the gardens. Produce is sold to neighbors via our traveling vegetable cart.
- Mural Team - This group of students have created murals in the neighborhood, including murals for Binghampton businesses and churches. This summer students completed murals at Lester Prep, Grad Academy and completed a mural on Walnut Grove in partnership with United Methodist Center’s Youth Leadership Team. The mural team also got to work on the .3 mile long mural at the Chelsea Greenline through Paint Memphis. Every mural is designed by students with input from the client and conveys a message of community and pride.
- Laundry Co-op - Monday-Thursday our teen staff does laundry for neighborhood families with the Purple House washer and dryer at no cost to families. This addresses the too common barrier of students missing school due to no clean uniform clothing.
In addition to the extra curricular programs the Carpenter Art Garden offers every day to students, the Carpenter Art Garden employs 21 teen workers during the school year…..24 teenager during the summer months.