Sharon Starrat

Sharon Starrat

Castlegar’s Downtown Art Farm brings art and gardening together

The art farm in downtown Castlegar has several garden plots for local residents.

When it comes to culture, Castlegar has it in spades. From Sculpture Walk to Art Walk to the Kootenay Gallery, there is no shortage of culture here. Castlegar’s Downtown Art Farm, located at 214 – 11th avenue, is the new kid on the block.

The Art Farm began last summer as a way of bringing together various pieces of art with community garden plots.

“Pinnacle Accounting owns the property and they donated it for our use for the foreseeable future,” said Sharon Starrat, Art Farm project manager. “We thought rather than having a vacant lot that’s taking away from how our downtown looks why not have something that really adds to it – to be an actual draw for the downtown core. We look at it as an extension of the Castlegar SculptureWalk. People do the tour, they’re welcome to end up here for a picnic and use the space we have here.”

The lot was formerly overgrown and strewn with garbage and construction debris, so the original concept of the Downtown Art Farm project was to clean up the area and create a productive community garden space that’s open to the public.

“The goal of the garden is to bring together citizens interested in growing edibles, flowers, and herbs to not only beautify our downtown area and create additional green space, but to increase local food security and knowledge,” said Starrat. “We had seven gardeners participating last year, and we have nine this year. It’s been really nice to have the community involved.”

For the garden space, volunteer gardeners are invited to take a garden plot for the growing season, and are asked to donate some of their fresh produce to the local Community Harvest Food Bank.

“There’s lots of interest from the public,” said Starrat. “There’s definitely a need for it. A lot of people have a home or apartment but don’t have the space for a garden. We want to be able to provide that. And we want to promote local food production.”

The influence of SculptureWalk can be seen throughout the Art Farm with several sculptures on the property including “Is this Love? (Bull Rider)” by Osamade Obazee and “Body, Mind, and Spirit”, a marble piece by SculptureWalk director Pat Field.

 

New this year is “Raven” by Daniel Kloc, which was from last year’s Sculpture Walk event. There are also several mural paintings on the site from local artist Karla Pearce.