Garden of Fire 2018 Gathering

Thank you to all of the funders, donors and partners who made another successful Garden of Fire summer learning program possible!

The Garden of Fire Gathering is a celebration of all the accomplishments of the youth participants over the summer.

With more than a million students statewide lacking access to needed after-school and summer programs, we are proud of the efforts we’ve made to extend the benefits of these programs to our local students.  It is essential that community members work together to continue this summer initiative.

The Garden of Fire is made possible by the generosity of the following funders and supporters:

2018 Funders

2018 In-Kind Donors

Week 5: Designs by Nature

During week 5 of the Garden of Fire 2018 Summer Learning Program, students worked with artists Tony Moretti and Gwen Quigley to create pollinators and collages out of found and natural materials.

Tony and Gwen are known for their whimsical creations that unite nature and play, with a focus on teaching the safe usage of tools and materials to youth.



Pollination: A Powerful Metaphor

by CareFirst Grief Services Team
Chelsea Ambrose, Carly Nichols, and Leah Torello

The relationship between people and the natural world is astounding.  We can learn so much from nature and pollination is the perfect example.  That is why CareFirst and 171 Cedar Arts paired up to provide the first week of this year’s Garden of Fire Summer program; Clayful Pollinators. During this session, the kids learned about pollination and how it is a symbol for our ability to cope with life’s challenges.

For example, bees are one of the most common pollinators. They rely on each other and work together for survival, just in the way people need to get support from their loved ones or ask for help during hard times. Bees also live in and create honeycombs which are made out of hexagons. The shape of a hexagon is considered one of the most powerful shapes in nature because of how it fits together and is such an effective utilization of space. The shape represents harmony and balance in nature, something we all need in our lives – emotional, mental and physical balance.


These concepts and many others are powerful symbols that the children integrated into their work while creating a ceramic tile mosaic/ Watching the kids learn about these concepts and create beautiful works of art was an amazing experience. Their minds were truly pollinated by these powerful ideas and we are hopeful these metaphors will stick with them throughout their lives.

Week 4: Pollinating the Imagination

By Jessica Orcutt
Education and Volunteer Programs Coordinator, The Rockwell Museum

This has been my first year participating in the Garden of Fire, and I could not be more excited that this summer’s theme is all about pollination! This is such an important thing to talk about, and Garden of Fire is a perfect opportunity to promote healthy and informed discussion between youth participants, staff and peers.

It is vital that the next generation is well-informed and passionate about protecting pollinating animals like bees, butterflies, bats and birds. As these creatures search for nectar, fruit, or other foods, they unknowingly contribute to the growth of all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

Without these animals, we would not be able to enjoy a lot of foods that are staples in our diets. Can you imagine life without corn, wheat, apples, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, pumpkins, tomatoes, vanilla, or sugar? The list of plants that rely on pollination is almost endless.

At The Rockwell Museum, youth participants had an opportunity to consider pollination in a personal and imaginative way. For our activity, youths thought about how our imaginations are like pollinators – spreading ideas among peers just like bees spread pollen among flowers. The fruit or vegetable that results from a pollinated plant is represented by our artistic creations!

After examining a couple of paintings in The Rockwell’s galleries, the group returned to the Museum’s Education Center to create our very own pollinators. Youth participants drew inspiration from real bees, bugs, and birds; and, created fictional, mythical creatures purely from their imaginations. These fantastical pollinators could be seen at 171 Cedar Arts Center for the final Garden of Fire Gathering on August 10, after which youth participants take their creations home with them!