About the Garden
Aeronauts 2000 Intergenerational Pilot Project challenges our young technology leaders of tomorrow to create tools to improve the lives of older adults today. Since 2015, the crew has conducted research on aging, develop an intergenerational board game that compares aging to space travel, and developing gerontechnology tools that will help seniors age in place.
In 2017 a quarter acre of land was donated to start an community garden that focuses on growing plants that are helpful to seniors manage chronic illnesses and pain. Since then, the crew grows a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit for free distribution at E 39th and Community College Avenue in the Central Area of Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2018 interns cconstructed 7 raised beds and grew a successful crop of vegetables, distributing to over 60 seniors and neighbors at the site and to Eliza Bryant Village. Their research activity focused on understanding the chemistry behind plants. Handouts on the medicinal use of the plant were distributed with the produce.
In 2019, the focus was on beautification and community engagement to create a safe place that would attract participation. The team added a brick walkway for better access to the site for seniors, and open space areas for community gatherings. The goal is to create an open space for public art, around the themes of Empowerment and Wellness.
In 2020, a permanent art display was installed at the site to allow residents to express themselves creatively in a safe space, attract residents to the garden to learn about gardening, and enhance the visual aesthetic of the block. Four art panels were designed by Johnson and her students on Self-Esteem, Friendship, and Black Lives Matter; and an interactive panel that allows persons to take pictures and become apart of the piece.
In 2021, art therapy and gardening were used to address mental health issues affecting Central stakeholders during the pandemic. Two public art exhibits were installed entitled, Hands Across Central and Becoming Unmaksed. Johnson and her crew engaged an intergenerational group of over 50 residents, professionals, and donors around a retrospective around mental health issues post- COVID and their vision for Central. Group members designed 8" x 10" hand word art panels, which the crew embellished, assembled and mounted on two - 3'x5' hardee board through a special process perfected to winterize the panels. In addition, 24 2-sided masks were designed and embellished around contrasting themes of love, hope and perseverance against the backdrop of violence and despair in the Central community in Cleveland, Ohio. The panels, along with a collage including the artists who created them is on display at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland.
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