Chapel Hill residents looking for an artistic outlet are in luck — Community in Bloom is now accepting entries for its miniature garden contest.
The Community in Bloom competition is an opportunity for people to be creative with recycled materials to create artistic miniature gardens. The event's goal is for people to become educated on diversity and culture, while also tuning in with their community.
Community in Bloom is a part of Bloom Fest, an annual festival in downtown Chapel Hill with a "springtime" theme. The competition is meant to celebrate “the diverse strength and heritage of our community.”
Community in Bloom encourages interested participants to attempt to use recycled materials in their garden. The theme of the 2019 competition is “Planting a Dream.”
“Each part of the community, we are all great," said Tingting Chu, a volunteer with the Community in Bloom competition. "We are kind of like a project, but then when we come together — for example, like a miniature garden, if you see one, it has individual ideas. But if you see 50, if you see 100 of them, you actually will highlight a very diverse aspect of what our community may be like.”
According to its website, Community in Bloom promotes creativity, community connections and environmental awareness through making and exhibiting creative miniature gardens. The community is encouraged to make miniature gardens that highlight cultures, arts, sciences, humanities, literature, innovations or inspirations.
Leading up to Bloom Fest on May 19, Community in Bloom has hosted events to enhance the collection of miniature gardens that will be featured.
Historically, people throughout the Chapel Hill community have been involved in events like these.
“I took a ceramics summer camp, and there we built a mini garden, and I guess I really wanted to give it another go but this time using the smallest amount of money possible,” said Alex Shen, a Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools student who is featured on the Community in Bloom flier.
Shen’s garden, which is named, “Goshen Land,” features a variety of recycled materials and is representative of his childhood visit to a farm.
He said the project challenged him to become creative with his design and materials. He used various materials such as bamboo sticks and a toy car.
While this project brought Shen out of his comfort zone academically, it also allowed him to reflect on a place that holds special meaning. Chu said the project is supposed to do exactly this — become representative of an educational and communal feeling.
Chu said she was amazed by a few of the gardens featured on the Community in Bloom website.
“A couple of years ago, I went to a national cathedral, they had the miniature gardens on display to actually highlight each embassy or each country," she said. "Actually, when I saw those, it inspired me."
Chu said the diversity of the Chapel Hill community can be displayed through the various miniature gardens. Music lovers might want to center their gardens around a specific music artist or instrument, while nature lovers might want to feature a beautiful scene of flowers and plants.
The Community in Bloom event will be hosted by local organization We Sense. Chu is the program director for this nonprofit, which promotes creativity through service-learning projects.
“We Sense is an all-volunteer group,” Chu said. "... We basically create service-learning events. We try to create projects that the youth can participate in but then also have the service learning elements so they do something that can relate to real life service.”
The submission deadline for the contest is April 25. The actual showcase will take place on May 19 in downtown Chapel Hill.
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