project leader
Emily C
North Beatty Street
(East Liberty )
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the project

Art in the Garden, OMA Center for Mind Body and Sprit's program for youth and families, invests in the resiliency and social and emotional development of youth.  Above all, Art in the Garden seeks to enable youth to grow in their understanding of connectedness to themselves, each other, and the earth. Our programming supports youth knowing—in deep and lasting ways—the interconnectedness of all living beings, and the ways in which we are all whole and all belong. For more information click here.

COVID-19: Through online programs and socially distanced events, we at Art in the Garden are continuing to build the beautiful work children, families, and our communities create together.

Children and teens thrive when they can recognize and express their emotions in healthy ways: their emotional intelligence and social skills increase, anxiety and depression decrease, they are less likely to bully others, they have better academic performance, and they have stronger leadership skills. At Art in the Garden, we support youth in developing abilities to identify and process emotions and channel their energies into activities that support their abilities to live their fullest expressions of themselves. Our vision is to become a model for best practices in social and emotional learning and in trauma-informed care and resilience. 

Art in the Garden is a program that:

  • Features workshops with community partners that empower youth to see themselves as creators of positive change
  • Addresses economic justice by using a sliding scale fee, prioriting enrollment for underserved families 
  • Provides children with free meals through a partnership with Earthen Vessesl
  • Freely shares the arts and ecology curriculum we have developed that aims to foster the five core Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies: self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, communication, and collaboration (contact us if you'd like to use the curriculum!)
  • Gives children tools to grow in their ability to empathize, communicate, develop confidence, be team-players, and make constructive choices
  • Supports children in seeing themselves as creators so that they may live their fullest expression of themselves
  • Believes true trauma-informed care is anti-racist; we seek to address racism, injustice, and bias at all levels of our programming, from hiring, to camp fees, to curriculum, to personal accountability and growth
  • Utilizes research from neuroscience on helping children and teens develop resilience
  • Empowers children families with solutions-based approaches to care for our environment

Want to know more about our programming for the 2020/2021 Season:

Community Mural-Making: Through virtual classes and social distancing in our family camps, youth and families are creating two community murals. These projects unite families and communities, engage self-expression, curiosity, empowerment, and voice. Expressing ourselves in artful ways helps us to realize our potential to make a positive impact in our community and the world. 

Family Days: These outdoor events, held in the garden, create a space for community members to share resources, make art, and engage in learning sessions around regenerative gardening practices. 2020 activities have featured: drumming and dance with Sankofa Village for the Arts, dance with Lost Culture, yoga, collage-making, and storytelling with a member of the Haudenosaunee/Seneca Nation. We uphold CDC guidelines around Covid-19, including masks and physical distancing.   

Community Mural-Making: Through virtual classes and social distancing in our family camps, youth and families are creating two community murals. These projects unite families and communities, engage self-expression, curiosity, empowerment, and voice. When we are able to express ourselves in artful ways, it helps us to know and believe in our potential to make a positive impact in our community and the world.

Climate Activist Camp and Counselor Training (upcoming): In collaboration with Youth Enrichment Services, AITG trains students ages 13-18 to be camp counselors and use a trauma-informed approach with young campers. This program also provides mindfulness training and space for inner exploration through the arts; restorative justice training for individual and collective healing; training in solutions-based approaches to addressing the climate crisis. Students emerge from this camp empowered to create positive and peaceful change in themselves and their communities.

Family Gardening Program (upcoming): Youth and families grow food and sequester carbon through regenerative gardening practices, empowering people to reverse climate change and restore soil. Collaborators include organizations such as Black Urban Gardeners (BUGS), Just Harvest, 412 Food Rescue. This program engages practices to help heal individual and cultural relationships with the land related to colonization, displacement, slavery, and capitalism. All people deserve access to enriching cultural and ecological experiences and access to green space for the transformative power and healing potential of nature.

the steps

Art in the Garden is in its 9th year of programming at Borland Garden in East Liberty. Art in the Garden features workshops with community partners that empower youth to see themselves as creators of positive change. Your donation helps us to continue collaborations with the following partners.  

Sankofa Village for the Arts engages youth through West African musical and performance traditions. Youth use sound and movement as a tool for regulating emotions, and developing self-esteem, self-discipline, and self-determination. Sankofa Village for the Arts also features Lost Culture Dance Crew.

The Clay Project provides the tools and materials for families to make a series of clay artifacts and contrinute to a community mural. Participants learn about a variety of surface treatments such as burnishing, stamps, texture and glaze. As participants discuss what their clay piece needs to survive the firing, which they do in a kiln built on site, they also have the opportunity to explore resilience and what they need in order to thrive in the face of challenges. Building on sequential firings, youth learn to create more durable and better-constructed pieces.  

The Storymobile from Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh brings stories, activities, books, and literary resources to Art in the Garden. Each week, youth get to choose a free book to add to their home libraries.

SOAR Coaching Academy led by Anita Russell gives youth opportunities to explore their true strength, dream big, communicate, and connect

Youth Enrichment Services (YES) formed in 1994 to create hope out of hopelessness, paint a bright future out of uncertainty and give young people from inner-city and urban communities a portrait of themselves as successful, empowered, and confident leaders. Art in the Garden partners with YES and Learn and Earn, working together to give teens an experience as counselors and leaders.

Earthen Vessels provides free meals for youth. 

why we're doing it

Art in the Garden aims to affirm the cultural backgrounds of the families we serve, focus on whole-child development, use restorative approaches to conflict, nurture relationships, engage youth in arts and ecological activities that support values of responsibility and resilience, and help youth develop tools to process and heal from trauma. Supporting the social and emotional development of youth contributes to the creation of a healthy, inclusive, and equitable society.  Above all, Art in the Garden seeks to enable youth to grow in connectedness to themselves, each other, and our earth. Our programming supports youth knowing—in deep and lasting ways—the interconnectedness of all living beings, that we are all whole and all belong.


We Believe

We believe that when we grow in our understanding of connectedness to ourselves, each other, and our earth, we are able build a better neighborhood.

We believe systems thinking in conjunction with social and emotional learning has the power to help youth as they work to reframe untrue and distorted or limiting beliefs and that this can create space for the positive transformation of self, family, and community.

We believe that all people deserve access to healthy food.

We believe all people have a right to easily access and enjoy green space.

We believe children need nature and we believe in the transformative power and healing potential of nature.


Supporting Art in the Garden.

Art in the Garden (AITG) is made possible by generous support from individuals like you, and by OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, The Neighbors Committee and The Presbyterian Women at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Borland Garden, the African Healing Garden, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Burkholder Foundation, WTAfter3Pacific PlaytentsCityGrowsShadyside Worms, Choolaah, the Window Box Garden Club, the East End Food Coop and a grant from The Heinz Endowments.  

You can also donate by check to OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit (AITG): Art in the Garden c/o Linda Puechl, 807 Bellaire Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15226. 

Want to connect? Reach us at


Disbursed budget (12.14.20):

Pittsburgh ioby Revised budget 2021  
Gardening supplies  $       300.00
Fall and Winter programming  $       700.00
Support Campers attending summer camp  $   3,000.00
Spring Community Mural Creation (Supplies)  $       458.11
Mural will be created using  the clay pieces made by the families during the Summer and Fall Virtual Clay Activities.  
 Total Budget   $   4,458.11

TOTAL RAISED = $4,526.00 $4,526.00
ioby Platform Fee waived $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $67.89 $66.84
TOTAL TO DISBURSE= $4,458.11 $4,424.16

Original budget:

In order to promote economic justice, Art in the Garden uses a sliding scale fee; we crowd-source to help cover the programming fees families are unable to cover, often due to the effects of racism and injustice.  

$300 goes to art and gardening supplies 

$700 goes to fall/winter programming 

$3000 supports campers attending summer camp. 
*The actual cost per child per week is $300. Each child receives a free breakfast and lunch daily. Your support enables youth to have experiences with talented teaching artists and ecologists and to play, create, and explore. This program supports youth in connecting with themselves, each other, and the earth--which is expressed so clearly in the words of the Ubuntu: “I am because we are.” This program engages the demands set by youth on the Youth Climate Strike platform<> ; these demands shape our activities and build awareness of our choices and habits and engage possibility. We know that when youth feel empowered, their ability to create positive change and feel good about themselves increases.


ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
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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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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