In 2009, were you to shop at the Giant supermarket in Waverly, you might have driven past an unremarkable triangular patch of grass situated opposite the parking lot. You probably didn’t wonder how one might go about converting the yard into a community garden and public art space. But Pete Cullen, Jimmy Joe Roche, Clarissa Gregory, and Graham Coreil-Allen did.
The group of artists, most of whom lived adjacent to the well-kept but empty lot, applied to overseee the space and we’re quickly granted stewardship. Enlisting the help of friend and soil expert Cheryl Carmona, they worked to build a raised bed and plastic-walled hothouse. The repurposed space was named “Tinges Commons” as a nod to the old Tinges Lane, which was destroyed in the construction of the supermarket.
Since its inception, Tinges Commons has placed an emphasis on community, working in tandem with neighborhood organizations, and hosting catered art openings, community cook-outs (with food from the garden), and multi-household yard sales.
The project has received funding from the Waverly Greening Fund, the Maryland Co-operative Extension, Maryland State Arts Council, and the Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts.
Next time you’re driving down E. 33rd Street, steal a glance at Tinges Commons. With constantly changing exhibitions that range from the inviting to the minimal to the chin-scratchingly odd, you’re sure to see something worth talking about.
You have to hand it to the Tinges Commons crew for seeing community building potential in the often alienating world of fine art. Coreil-Allen, in an interview with Erin Gleeson for her Let’s Be Self-Sufficient blog, put it this way: “It’s something interesting to look at. It’s a reason to talk to your neighbors.”
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