Help Cultivate The Alchemical Garden: An Edible Garden and Art Park at Newburyport’s Rail Trail

The Alchemical Garden site February 2010

GAL is turning a desolate  field of weeds into a visually compelling garden that will educate and engage the community for years to come. Located on a 160′ x 25′ site near the south entrance  of  Newburyport’s Clipper City Rail Trail, the Alchemical Garden is a richly layered evolving art and horticulture experience  that is accessible on many different levels to the public.

Alchemical Garden Plot plan

Alchemical Garden is designed to become a model for a sustainable, interactive public garden through the use of symbiotic, low maintenance plantings and recycled materials.

The ancient discipline of Alchemy marries art and science and is famously known for transforming a common material into gold.  The Alchemical Garden will lead the community to transform on a number of levels :

Alchemical Garden with Spring Wheat "Crop Circles" June, 2011

BUILD COMMUNITY:  The Garden creates a gathering space for individuals to form a more intimate relationship with their community.  The space is designed with visual features and seating areas to compel passers-by to pause, reflect, and have a multi-sensory interactive experience ( sight, smell, touch, taste, smell) with the garden and the community.

NOURISH/HEAL:  The garden will nourish its visitors –  both literally and figuratively.  Pesticide free edible fruit will be nourishing to human and animal guests.  Also, the trees and plants have been selected specifically to ensure they work together to purify the toxins in the soil and to sustain themselves and a rich habitat for local fauna over time.

EDUCATE: Signage and sculptural features in the garden will highlight Newburyport’s history of innovation and will link the area’s past with its present. The garden will act as a living laboratory, by cleaning up the soil through the use of hyper-accumulating plants and engaging local students and members of the community in soil testing and monitoring the remediation of toxins. GAL will use the Alchemical Garden as a center for workshops and other events that will educate the public about soil contamination, remediation, ecosystems  and permaculture.

INSPIRE: The Alchemical Garden focuses on the web of relationships between people and the natural world. Signage in the garden will inform  and engage visitors to act in the interest of the community’s future. In addition to the construction of the art park, the Alchemical Garden project will contribute to the community in innovative ways though: educational workshops and interactive art performances that will seek to awaken each individual’s own capacity for imagination and action and to become more engaged stewards of the environment.

The Alchemical Garden is a multi-year project, with completion anticipated in 2013. GAL is grateful to the New England Foundation for the Arts for supporting our mission and  launching the first phase of the garden with a $20,000 grant. To fund our full proposal, we need an additional 136K over the next 24 months. To finish this first phase we have a 2011 fund-raising “target” of securing an additional $36,000 in private donations. GAL believes that no donation is too small and encourages anyone and everyone who believes this will be a valuable addition to both the rail trail and the city’s green mission to be a co-creator. GAL is grateful to the Urban Arts Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art for acting as our fiscal sponsor so that donation can be tax-deductible.

“Funded in part by the Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.”

To make a tax deductable donation to the Alchmical Garden project click here . For The Green Artists League to receive the donation, Alchemical Garden/Green Artists League must be put in the Designation Field on the Urban Arts/Network for Good website.

3 Responses to Help Cultivate The Alchemical Garden: An Edible Garden and Art Park at Newburyport’s Rail Trail

  1. Newsflash: NBPT gets NEFA grant | Green Artists League

  2. Hello,

    How could I get involved in the alchemy garden? I am an artist, gardener, writer and live in Newburyport. This project intrigues me!



  3. Hi Dori,

    Thanks for your interest in the Alchemical Garden. GAL welcomes your involvement. I will contact you directly to give you more information.


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