Plant Parade engages student, community interest


Photo courtesy of Samantha Strahota
The Mattress Factory made all of the pant packs using felt. Th bags will be saved for further use in the schools and the museum.

By Alyse Horn

Central Northsider’s may catch a glimpse of a wild rumpus through the streets as the Mattress Factory Plant Parade travels to the Allegheny YMCA on Saturday, May 17.

Over 135 children from Manchester Elementary, King Elementary and PROPEL Northside will participate in the parade carrying plant packs that will hold vegetables and flowers they have germinated during class time.

Felice Cleveland, director of education at Mattress Factory, said pre-parade preparations will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday before the parade march begins at 3 p.m. From the art museum and accompanied by the May Day Marching Band, the children will walk with their plant packs from 500 Sampsonia Way to the YMCA Garden at 600 North Avenue where the plants can be transplanted.

The event is in collaboration with the museum’s ARTLab program and Detroit Artist Jessica Frelinghuysen’s “Germination Corps.”

Frelinghuysen, whose work is on view through July 2014 as part of the Mattress Factory’s “Detroit: Artists in Residence” exhibition, created Germination Corps in 2010 as “a unique way for students to participate in an art performance piece that seeks to teach, inspire and empower people to grow their own healthy foods, while activating ideas and discussion about sustainable food production and food security for participants,” according to a press release.

In the week leading up to the parade, Frelinghuysen will be traveling to each participating school with Cleveland and the rest of the Mattress Factory education team to distribute plant packs and help prepare the children for the parade.

Cleveland said the museum has made an extra 40 plant packs and germinated extra seeds so children of any age or not from the three participating schools can partake in the event. Cleveland also said the event will go on, rain or shine, so participants should dress appropriately.

“It’s good for students to learn about plants and where [their] food comes from,” Cleveland said. “More than that, it is important for us to connect with the schools, teachers and people in our community.”

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