Nature, Art & Community | Coping in Crisis

As the pandemic grinds on, people are flocking outside to boost their spirits, safely engage with one another, and find creative ways to coexist. Recently, we connected with Todd Marcus, Firesoul at Intersection of Change in West Baltimore, MD, to learn what Todd and the staff at Intersection of Change may be up to, as long-time nature proponents for health and wellness. Naturally, we weren’t disappointed. 

Urban farming via the Strength to Love II program — photo credit: intersectionofchange.org

Intersection of Change offers a multifarious approach to helping its community thrive, strengthen and heal from poverty-related issues. It is home to Martha’s Place, a residential recovery program for women overcoming substance abuse and homelessness; Jubilee Arts, aimed to infuse arts into the community; and Strength to Love II, an urban farm that offers employment to returning citizens, workforce development for youth, and addresses food apartheid. 

Todd and his community have long recognized the healing powers of nature. With three thoughtfully-designed green spaces, Sacred Places, embedded into Intersection of Change grounds, countless community members have reconnected with hope, renewal and togetherness via nature. 

With the challenges that arise from the today’s crises, Todd and his team have made fast work to meet the need of their community:

  • Food has been made available bi-weekly to residents in the Sandtown-Winchester community, via the Strength to Love II program — thoughtfully harvested, assembled and delivered.
  • To celebrate community graduates, they hosted a socially-distant, outdoor graduation ceremony for graduating seniors from their Youth in Business initiative in the Jubilee Arts Garden.
  • Jubilee Arts classes have all been shifted to operate online (called  Arts@Home) to ensure that community members can still utilize classes in visual art, dance, and ceramic classes for people of all ages.  This has included hundreds of art kits sent to participant’s homes.
  • The Art@Work summer mural program still took place amid the pandemic by sending materials home to teen participants who created their individual section of two major community mural projects.
  • McKinley Wallace III, one of lead adult artist teachers for Art@Work (with a beautiful outdoor mural in the 1800 block of Division Street) also was included in a recent, outdoor pop-up exhibit in the Station North Arts District.
  • A pollinator garden has been completed — with the help of Nature Sacred’s Crisis Relief Fund (hey, that’s us!) — with the expert help of Division Street Landscaping, rich with native plants and shrubs. This new feature was installed just below a mural of Gervonta “Tank” Davis, a local boxing hero (who happens to be the reigning lightweight boxing champion of the world)!

As we journey forward this year and into next, we’ll keep our eyes on the creative ideas that spring forth from Firesouls like Todd — and will share the inspiration. 

Want to support this work in communities like this? Donate here. 

Looking to create a Sacred Place? Here’s how to get started!

 

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