Meet Our Garden Educator

By Bri Barton, Garden Educator at TPS

I have been teaching in gardens and farms in Philly since 2012. Gardens are a powerful environment to talk about a wide range of subjects including, ecology, biology, health and nutrition, food justice, worker’s rights, racial justice, immigration and diaspora, history and art. Gardens are also great places to relax, meditate, unwind, regain focus and clarity, and get grounded.

I work primarily with the preschool and kindergarten classes, but this fall I will co-teach a Middle School intensive on botanical illustration with Neesa Becker-Procaccino. I am also teaching a gardening club this fall.

When I’m not growing food with kids, I work as an artist and freelance illustrator. Currently I am a part of two collaborative, educational art projects – Philadelphia Assembled and Water Ways – which may be of interest to you.   

Philadelphia Assembled is an expansive project that tells a story of radical community building and active resistance through the personal and collective narratives that make up Philadelphia’s changing urban fabric. Challenging, inspiring, and as big as the city, Philadelphia Assembled asks: how can we collectively shape our futures?

I have been a part of this project for the last two years, mostly as an image maker. I am one of the lead artists who created  a 140' collaborative mural that runs the length of the Perelman Building! The mural is part map, part timeline, part storytelling. In so many ways this is a dream come true.

The museum phase of Philadelphia Assembled opens September 9 in the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition runs through December 10. If you are interested in Philadelphia, art, indigenous rights, Afro futurism, land and economic sovereignty, gentrification, mass incarceration, immigration or LGBTQ rights from a contemporary or historical lens, this show might be up your alley! (Oh, and it’s free!)

Water Ways is a series of illustrations telling the story of water and the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the surrounding area. Meg Lemieur and I have been working on this project since the end of 2016. The first illustration, which will be printed on 10'x13' fabric for educational presentations and performances, will be completed by fall of 2017. The illustrations will also be printed poster size for fundraising efforts to support local pipeline resistance camps.