Starting Over Festival Set for Sunday, April 22 at Quincy St. Park

Celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day at the Quincy Street open space with a tree planting, art activities, a clothing swap, nature walks, art projects, and interactive activities for people of all ages

SOMERVILLE – The Somerville Arts Council and the City of Somerville, in partnership with Greg Cook, present the Starting Over Festival, a free Arbor Day and Earth Day celebration at the city’s tiniest “urban wild.” The festival will take place at Quincy Street Open Space, 16 Quincy St., from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 (Rain date: April 29). Join a scientist on a tiny hike in the park exploring wildlife here in Somerville. Help plant a tree and take home a free seedling. Hear poetry. Participate in activities, games and art. Bring clean, unwanted clothing for a free clothing swap – or donate your clothes to be recycled!

During the festival, you can explore the park on your own using a subway-style map designed by Rajiv Raman that offers activities for kids and grownups to do. Tour the park with Jef C. Taylor of Boston’s Urban Nature Walks group, a naturalist specializing in urban wildlife, bugs, mushrooms, creepy crawlies and weird stuff. Hear spoken-word poetry by Eddy Toussaint Tontongi, a Haitian immigrant who plans to read his poem responding to Donald Trump’s insults of his homeland, and by Marshall Gillson, who was a National Poetry Slam finalist as a member of the 2016 House Slam team from Boston’s Haley House. Paint mosaic-style animals with muralist Liz LaManche. Make animal masks to take home with Kari Percival. See Andy Pepper’s sculpture of a fallen tree truck made from recycled plastic wrap. Try out worm-bin composting with Groundwork Somerville. Learn about how we can reduce our carbon output and live more sustainably by playing educational games presented by the city’s SustainaVille program.

The idea for the Starting Over Festival was dreamed up by Greg Cook, the freelance event planner behind the Pity Party in 2015, the Tiny Tall Ships Festival in 2016 and the Tiny Great Outdoors Festival 2017. The festival’s title is meant to evoke the new beginnings of spring as well as turning over a new leaf socially and politically. He created the festival to celebrate “urban wilds,” a term for what are often small pockets of nature within our cities. The Quincy Street Open Space is one of these urban parks. Located on the site of a burned down house, it’s been reclaimed as a tiny sustainable woodland landscape created in a dense, residential urban neighborhood.

For more information go to: www.somervilleartscouncil.org/artsunion/2018/StartingOver.

With questions about the festival, please contact Special Events Manager, Nina Eichner at 617-625-6600 x2998 or NEichner@somervillema.gov. For photos or interviews contact Greg Cook, freelance event producer, 781-388-2665.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or NSalamoun@somervillema.gov .

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