Nonprofit Binghampton Carpenter Art Garden marks 10 years

Turning from Mimosa onto Carpenter Street is like entering a new world. Surrounded on both sides by colorful houses, hand-painted signs and decor and full of greenery, the street is a far cry from the usual residential buildings and surrounding businesses. Welcome to the Carpenter Art Garden.

The Art Garden is a non-profit organization that serves the Binghampton community by offering after-school activities and classes, vocational training for teenagers and newly grown produce, along with helping with what seems like any other need that arises. Started in 2012 with a weekly outdoor art class and a few picnic tables, no one could have imagined how the program would grow in the next 10 years.

“Everything has grown from spending time and talking and building relationships,” said executive director Megan Banaszek.

Banaszek started as a volunteer just two years after Erin Harris, a former art teacher, started the first outdoor art classes across from the Cornerstone Prep Lester campus, but by the time she joined, they had to expand, building the House of Purple – which is really dyed purple – in the rest.

An indoor space sits on the grounds of the Carpenter Art Garden on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in the Binghampton neighborhood of Memphis.  Carpenter Art Garden is a non-profit organization that offers after-school activities and classes, including sewing and cooking classes, to community members.

“People loved coming to the Tuesday art garden, people loved doing these classes,” Banaszek said. “Well, now it needs an internal space so that we can be more consistent, be more organized about what we’re doing.”

Now, the Carpenter Art Garden consists of the original art garden, two vegetable gardens, a sculpture garden that doubles as a mini-producers market, a kitchen, a bike shop, a sewing studio, a learning center, and the Purple House housing offices and a small indoor art classroom.

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