Vacant Lot Becomes Community Space
My vision is to give purpose to a vacant lot. Where once stood abandoned houses, there will be a reflection space with a labyrinth and a community art installation.
In June 2013, we brought light to this space on the longest day of the year with a circle gathering and a modified sun salutation series. The children at this gathering helped decorate a stepping stone for the labyrinth entrance.
Since the summer, various people have joined me at this lot on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. We have prepared the ground, moved bricks, unloaded wood, and removed trees. It is enlivening to get in touch with the dirt and have ruddy cheeks from working so hard outside.
Gordon removing an invasive tree.
The vision of Focus2020 is to create an engaged and inclusive city. I was one of several grant awardees at the beginning of September. The collective effect of these grants will be seen throughout the city over the course of the next year. The Peace Learning Center offers workshops so that more people can become Focus 2020 graduates.
John Ridder of Paxworks: the Labyrinth Shop created the triune focus design of the Rivoli Park Labyrinth. Logo by Susan Williams Boyles.
The Rivoli Park Labyrinth project brings the international labyrinth movement to an urban neighborhood setting. Our space will be listed in the worldwide labyrinth locator, putting the eastside of Indianapolis on the labyrinth map.
To offset the often solitary nature of walking a labyrinth, this project also includes a healthy dose of community celebrations. For example, on May 3, 2014, we will celebrate World Labyrinth Day. And workdays at the site include a potluck to celebrate our growing community.
Aaron, James and the neighborhood cat moving a young tree to make room for the winding path of the labyrinth.
Many partnerships are arising from this effort to give purpose to a vacant lot. One example of that synergy involves the documentation of the upcoming Oct. 10 workday (part of Indy Do Day). A KI EcoCenter videography intern is mentoring another young man that he met through this project. We can’t wait to see their collaborative videography of the workday, when volunteers will place bricks outlining the labyrinth path.
Meanwhile, the soil needs repairing and we plan to use hugelkultur to do it. We’ll mound soil and compost over woody debris and put our plantings on top of that mass. Permaculture designer Katherine Boyles Ogawa says, “Hugelkultur is an ideal method for urban lots where the soils are usually very compacted and often contaminated with heavy metals.”
Permaculture designer Katherine supervises unloading of logs for hugelkultur.
We hope to eventually make the space into a certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
Another goal is to display artwork and illustrated quotes along the fence. Panels would be created by special education students at the nearby public school and the art group at Midtown Community Mental Health Center.
Sarah, a fellow Focus 2020 workshop participant, donating paint for the community art wall.
The community art aspect of the project is being funded through this crowdsourcing site.
We would love to have you join us in celebrating a year of this project coming into being on the summer solstice, June 21, 2014.
Like the Rivoli Park Labyrinth Indianapolis Facebook page to see project news. Join the Rivoli Park Labyrinth community group to collaborate with others and be invited to the annual celebration. We will post monthly featurettes and more detailed updates on our blog.
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