project leader
Emily C
Borland Garden, at the corner of Black Street and Beatty Street
(East Liberty)
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the project

OMA Pittsburgh’s Art in the Garden invests in the resiliency and social-emotional development of youth.  Art in the Garden's year-round programming focuses on addressing impacts of early childhood adversity and trauma on health and learning through programming in the arts and ecology. 2021 summer camp will be in-person (masked and physically distanced). At least half of the spots in our programming are always reserved for students who identify as low-income and/or as a person of color, immigrant, or refugee. The money we raise will go directly to ensuring programming for these students. 

Art in the Garden is a program that:

  • Features workshops with community partners that empower youth to see themselves as creators of positive change, so that they may live their fullest expression of themselves
  • Addresses economic justice by using a sliding scale fee, prioritizing enrollment for underserved families 
  • Provides free breakfast and lunch through a partnership with Earthen Vessels 
  • Trains teachers, staff, and community members in trauma informed care, which crucually includes anti-racist & restorative justice training  
  • Gives children tools to reduce stress, and empowers youth confidence, compassion, and civic engagement
  • Seeks to address racism, injustice, and bias at all levels of our programming, from hiring, to camp fees, to curriculum, to personal accountability and growth
  • Supports youth in exploring connections between physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being and the environment and engaging local solutions-based approaches to address environmental racism, food apartheid, and the climate crisis

the steps

Art in the Garden's year-round programming is made possible by donors like you. After a year of remote programming and socially distanced events, we will return to daily in-person programming this summer (masked and socially distanced). We need your help. Your donation goes directly to making programming possible for underserved youth; your donatation helps fund Surviving to Thriving, collaborative learning sessions in trama-informed care for teachers, staff and community, which includes anti-racist and restorative justice trainings; your donation enables us to train and hire teachers and collaborators; your donation enables us to purchase gardening and art supplies; above all, your donation gives youth opportunities to experience themselves as agents of positive change.

Your donation goes directly to creating opporunitites for youth to experience joy. How? We know that trauma and adversity have long-term health complications and psychological effects on young minds, including anxiety, depression, impaired learning and memory, and that this represents a potential lifetime of lost opportunities which crucially includes children’s ability to experience joy. Through trauma-informed programming in the arts and ecology, Art in the Garden addresses the impacts of early childhood adversity and trauma and supports youth's healing and ability to experience joy.  

This summer, we have returning partners--including Sankofa Village of the Arts, The Clay Project, Pittsburgh Forest Garden, SOAR Coaching Academy, and The Storymobileand we're thrilled to announce a new partner: The Mural Art Project, led by Max “Gems” Gonzalez and Shane Pilster, teaches graffiti and mural arts skills while building community and empowering youth to challenge barriers and give voice to their dreams. Youth have opportunities to create lasting murals that foster love and solidarity and justice.

why we're doing it

We believe it is morally imperative to prevent early childhood adversity. We believe that trauma-informed learning has the ability to address generational and everyday trauma by supporting youth, teachers, families, and communities on their path to healing; We believe it is imperative to address root causes of trauma including racism, colonialism, & capitalism; we believe in creating environments where youth feel safe, connected, and can experience joy.

We believe in joy-centered learning. Joy-centered learning emerges from the interests and talents of the students and communities served; fosters a culture of appreciation that is process-oriented (and supports students in developing moment-to-moment awareness, without pressure about an end “product”); and is relational.

We believe in the interconnection between the well-being of humans and the well-being of the environment. We believe in supporting youth in engaging local solutions-based approaches to address environmental racism, food apartheid, and the climate crisis--and that this can empower youth and reduce stress. We believe in an environmental ethic that sequesters carbon, creates wildlife habitat, and increases biodiversity for the benefit of all beings.

We believe in the transformative power and healing potential of art and nature and that all children should have access to excellent programming in the arts and ecology. 

Some of the city’s most talented teaching artists and ecologists provide unique experiences for youth and families at Art in the Garden. We are a community that embraces our intersectionality, welcomes the whole of each person, and values our interconnection. Teaching artists and ecologists empower youth and build confidence, giving youth opportunities to experience themselves as agents of positive change. Art in the Garden supports each youth’s ability to thrive and live their fullest expressions of themselves. 


Teaching Staff  $10,000

Collaborators  $6,000

Art and Gardening Supplies $2000

Surviving to Thriving Training (a training on trauma-informed care that centers anti-racist teaching)  $2000

Garden Space - Donated by Borland Garden

Breakfasts and Lunch - Donated by Earthen Vessels


ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $20,329
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


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