City Hall’s Community Gardens and Citizen Outdoor Mandala Art

Looking after their own community garden. Front lawn of city hall. Vancouver BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Looking after their own community garden. Front lawn of city hall. Vancouver BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Things at Vancouver’s City Hall aren’t always typical.  For instance,  its gentle sloping front lawn have been transformed into a mosaic of community gardens with  some benches, mini walking paths and even an arbour.

At any time, you might see people who signed up to cultivate a garden there, tending and watering their plants. 

In 2009, similar to what the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama did for the White House’s south lawn, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson decreed that the front lawn be converted to a patch of public real estate that was more meaningful to residents, self-managing and regenerative.  His words were not merely politico-speak:   prior to politics, Robertson was an organic farmer in the suburb of Langley where farmland is now fast disappearing to urban sprawl.  Then he started up his own organic food manufacturing plant which still produces for instance, natural juice drinks.

Community gardens nestled on front lawn of City Hall. Vancouver BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Community gardens on front lawn of City Hall. Vancouver BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

In fall 2010, the city hall community gardens became adorned with some permanent  public art made by residents.  The art work was result of a community-based summer art program, Cycleback Art for low-income residents and homeless . The program was funded by the City of Vancouver.  Project coordinator was Jamie Olivier (No connection to famous celebrity chef.) who cycled around the area to locations to host his workshops on his recumbent bike with the art supplies.

The unifying feature of this artwork is the round shaped, or mandala shaped backboard used as the backdrop for people to draw their images.

Mandala art with sea-life theme installed on sides of plant bed boxes for community gardens on city hall's front lawn. Vancouver, BC 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

Mandala art with sea-life theme installed on sides of plant bed boxes for community gardens on city hall's front lawn. Art was produced by low-income residents in a community-based summer art program, Cycleback Art. Funded by City of Vancouver 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

So cycle along the  bike lane on 10th St. west to Cambie St. corner where city hall is located.  You can also get off at City Centre station along the Canada Line train. It’s a 5 minute walk up the street.  For more about Vancouver’s community gardens and photos,  check here.

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