August 27, 2013

Cooper Union and Urban Farms

Before the Foundation Building at (now) Astor Place, an urban farm and greenhouse were there.

A few blocks away, on 11th street and 1st Avenue, we built this one acre urban farm and greenhouse in 1990, (with the help of Cooper Union and many others). This farm and greenhouse are still there.

June 21, 2013


A lot of progress this week with FOOD at two of our Seward Campus locations. We're organizing our maps,  lists of gardens, Garden to Cafe sites, and summer meal locations and we're working on our schedule.

View Food and Playground skatespot map by Open Road in a larger map

New Design: 5 students were accepted into our Summer Design Institute where we'll create designs of food producing gardens, hold events to re-imagine the city as a place to grow food, and work through obstacles to get this food into Summer Meals, free to kids and teens.

LOMA: Julie and a team of teenagers at LOMA in the Seward Park Campus, Manhattan volunteer after school on Thursdays. They'd like more garden areas inside the classroom where they can grow food. The roof may be under construction (again) and they may all need to move their plants growing up there.

We looked at this window. They need to go vertical for two reasons: to fit full grown plants they need the space, and they need the plants to filter the sunlight.

 Now they use this paper on the window below to filter the light or else they can't see the whiteboard. The window faces south. Plants will grow all the way to producing a harvest in this south facing light. But we have to go up. We'll also draw up some designs for using the lizard terrarium on the left to grow food and get an ecosystem going. They returned the lizard to the pet store because they didn't want to keep buying crickets.

 The green worm bin below is filled with eisenia fetida, red worms. The castings, or waste, they make from eating food waste is used by the after school kids to feed the plants.

We'll use what we learned from this hydroponic food garden set up (below) we built for David at New Design. SchoolFood staff gave advice on good food to grow for the cafeteria. Instead of a wide set up on the front desk with fluorescent light like we built for New Design then, we'll be using natural light and going vertical for the LOMA garden now. 

June 13, 2013

NY Hall of Science x Open Road

On June 8 we were invited to New York Hall of Science to create interactive art with kids in Rocket Park. And we'll be back again July 14 as part of Summer of the Stars. Thank you to our skateboarder/artists Andy Millien and Aaron Warner, Caitlin Pontrella of Movement Creative, and Tim Rutgers and June Amram for leading sessions.

Kids designed their own skate decks and stickers, played with 3D models and mini skateboards, all surrounded by skateboard demos by Aaron Warner + Andy Millien (Andy to the right in photo, above).

Complete deck designs in rocket park

photographing his adaptations of HouseWork, a Toy Theatre exhibit that will be in Great Small Works

Designing Dragon and NBA skateboard decks

Skate Demos in Rocket Park

Skateboarding lessons for all ages happened all day

NBA skate deck

For our next creative session on July 14, come play with interactive urban food garden designs, that blend beautifully with sports and active play! Summer of the Stars, July 14.

...and, NY Hall of Science is building THIS new community garden on the Museum grounds...
photo Michael Cosaboom

We hope to see you July 14 for our next creative session at NY Hall of Science!

June 7, 2013

Food and Art

We held a successful Garden to Cafeteria event at the 225 Adelphi school campus in Fort Green Brooklyn on May 31 and we have another coming up June 14.

The May 31 event was a chance to connect the school gardens (19 now!) with the food the children eat. Greens from the garden and local farm prodcue were served to the children as the green salad of the day in the school cafeteria. Chef Chris D'Orazi from SchoolFood was with the kids harvesting, prepping the greens, and serving them on the cafeteria line.

excerpt from Paula's Art Journal from 4/10/13:

I was at the school building today to talk with Augusta about art and food. We met in the cafeteria, under this tree.

We're thinking about a late May art show with a snack bar, and a late June art show with a lunch. We'll grow the food all around the schoolyard and make food art in the classrooms and outside. Food Art will be open to interpretation. A seven year old made the Banana and an adult made the Kitchen.

For the late May show maybe we could put a thousand tiny holes in the cafeteria tree. PS20 students made it for an April event and they have to demolish it when they're done. We'll ask if it can stay a bit longer. The tree can sprout art, some from the bark like tree ears, some from the leaves like strange fruit hooked into the tiny holes.

Lightweight garlands and stained glass panels made of translucent paper and thinly sliced fruit can hang over windows so the light can shine through.

For the June show the GREEN ARCHITECTURE team will show its work . Based in the school, this team is making digital models of the building, green roof, and playground. Some will be printed on Sound Absorbing panels made of cotton and wool that slip in and out of metal brackets. Others will be printed by Cornell students on foam core board light enough to hang on Velcro strips. Easy to change.

Here are some people from GREEN ARCHITECTURE working:

June 5, 2013

Artists & Architects Fighting for Open Space

"It started as a rather modest protest by some 50 people against the decision to convert the "Gezi" (promenade) Park, the little and only remaining green spot in the famous Taksim district in the heart of Istanbul, into a shopping mall. Some 50 activist residents of the area, mostly artists, architects, and writers, began carrying out a demonstration"

Quote and photo credit Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey. 
For more from Hurriyet on Taksim click here 

Air Play: skate obstacle design

Because buying NEW is so OLD

Build it Green sells old wood, marble, glass, and every other kind of building material beautifully organized in their warehouses. And they are a non-profit. Check them out!

June 4, 2013

Cooper Union

We're working to support student leaders to keep education free.

Cooper Union changed the Mission Statement page on its website, briefly, in October 2011.

The current website Mission Statement is back to the original, full scholarship mission

June 2, 2013

Moveable Parks

Here are some examples of Pop Up Parks, along with our Playground in a Box. On School and Parks property we developed Adopt a Park or stewardship agreements, you can find these here and here.

Playground in a Box at Open Road Park

April 13, 2013

Art Submissions are now being accepted for 2013 May, June, and September exhibitions

Ponds, streams, swales & a solar-powered composting greenhouse

Please send digital files to Paula Hewitt Amram, for consideration in our May, June, and September exhibitions in public school cafeterias and Children's Museums citywide.

Art, Architecture and 3D art will be considered on the topic of Food. A systems and campus approach grounded in real locations is preferred.

Artists whose work is accepted will receive an installation fee. Please contact us for more information.

April 12, 2013

Open Road Rooftop 350 Grand Street at Essex in Manhattan

Update: Rooftop sessions will begin again soon for LoMa students on the roof

In 2012 we had a team of 50 skaters + artists from all over NYC volunteering at the roof with kids from all 5 schools in the building. Thank you all.

This year we will focus on after school for-credit skate sessions with Loma, Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, a High School in the 350 Grand Street Campus, since we will be working around roof construction schedules.

April 4, 2013

Vice article on Skateboarding in the Community

Click the pic to read about skate clinics we do every summer

"I arrived in Brownsville and cruised down Grant avenue, crossed the highway, and entered Robert Venable Park... Fortunately, all nine skateboards were still in the skate mobile after a full week of touring distant parks ranging from Fort Green, to Red Hook, and now further into Brooklyn, Brownsville. We have met the halfway point of the two week long Open Road: “Learn to Skateboard” program"

ESPN article on Skateboarding Advocacy

Paula Hewitt (lower right) and the crew at the White House

"....For Hewitt, their cause is a civil rights issue, so the White House was a perfect venue. "Skateboarders are a class that is discriminated against," she says. "They are often prevented from engaging in a legal activity in public places." Click the pic for the article on ESPN. 

April 1, 2013


FOOD is an environmental art project with artist, architect and youth leadership. Through free art, architecture, and garden design sessions we create new gardens, improve existing growing environments, and create access to fresh healthy food with youth leadership. We are working in low income neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan, the North Shore of Staten Island, Crown Heights Brooklyn, Fort Greene Brooklyn, Jamaica, Queens, and the South Bronx.

Food related art communicates with the community to expand the impact of these gardens. We are changing menus of free public food programs in each of these five zones to incorporate fresh food grown in NYC gardens and local farms.  We hold free public events involving the community in designing, growing, cooking, and reimagining food systems.