“Healing in Nature” At D&R Greenway
“HOMEFRONT ON THE WINGS”: This painting by Stacy D. is featured in “Healing in Nature,” on view through August 31 at the D&R Greenway Johnson Education Center in Princeton. The exhibit showcases artwork created by people who have benefited from HomeFront’s ArtSpace program.
D&R Greenway Land Trust has partnered with HomeFront’s ArtSpace program for the first time to present “Healing in Nature,” on view through August 31 in D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton.
This partnership showcases artwork created by homeless people who have benefited from the HomeFront Family Campus in Ewing, where calming influences and a healing garden enable a much-needed break.
“D&R Greenway’s work to preserve open space is diverse,” says D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead. “We preserve land that benefits everyone in the community, from our Capital City Farm that grows healthy, local food in Trenton, to the well-loved community parks we have created in Hopewell, Lawrence, and Princeton. Again and again, we hear about the healing power of nature from people who enjoy our trails, our parks, and our open spaces in suburban and urban communities. With this exhibit, we want to illustrate the importance that nature plays in healing everyone, everywhere.”
“At our HomeFront Family Campus in Ewing, we house as many as 38 families in crisis on any given night,” says HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer. “And due to their tumultuous lives and the added stress of their arrival — children frightened, parents in despair — HomeFront’s ability to provide calming influences throughout their stay can play a huge role in emotional healing. A small, contemplative garden at the family campus is the perfect place for parents and their children to take a much-needed break and seek the fresh air, the beauty, and the solace that only nature provides. And no one knows how true this is more than our wonderful friends at D&R Greenway, promoting this very kind of healing through nature and land preservation for so many years.”
Just like D&R Greenway’s Meredith’s Garden of Inspiration, HomeFront’s healing garden has a theme: butterflies. Butterflies are symbols of hope and transformation into a new life.
“The garden is in the planning stages. We’re working with Master Gardeners of Mercer County,” says ArtSpace Founding Director Ruthann Traylor. Local landscape architect Bay Weber has volunteered her services to develop a detailed plan with winding pathways and calming elements including thoughtfully placed benches, fragrant plantings, gentle wind spinners, sculptural art, and mosaic tiles.
“In order to attract butterflies, we expect to be planting native plants. ArtSpace will be creating tile walking stones for the garden, and a portion of the sale of the artwork on view at D&R Greenway will go toward this endeavor.”
“A mutual benefactor, Wade Martin, brought local nonprofits together a few years ago to encourage partnerships,” Mead says. “Much has grown from that, including D&R Greenway’s partnership with the Princeton YWCA and the Healing Trails tour that will be available this fall. This latest partnership with HomeFront celebrates our mutual goal to create places where people from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty and healing power of being outdoors in nature.”
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. For more information, visit www.drgreenway.org.