If you drove down Glenwood Avenue in February of this year, you may have been charmed or even confused by the sight of 150 trees dressed in colorful, made to order, rectangular sweaters. This public art installation represented the work of more than 50 knitters, aged 7 – 70 who gathered to stitch during the fall at SpiritWorks Studio in The Carter Building. Sponsored by the Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative, these Tree Sweaters did just what was intended. They inspired conversation, brought neighbors together, delivered smiles to people going by, and even empowered kids who could see first hand the effects of their art on the community.

But all those things were just a preamble to a tea held May 15 at St. Saviour’s Center (616 Tucker St.) when again neighbors from Glenwood South – both residents and business owners – got together to distribute 15 patchwork blankets created from the Tree Sweaters to residents of Glenwood Towers. Dan Lovenheim (Cornerstone Tavern) was at the microphone to call out raffle numbers as Alex Amra (Tobacco Road) distributed hugs, along with blankets to winners. Patricia Privilege (Tuscan Blu) served as translator to Spanish speakers, while Liz Johnson (Revolver), Ann Conlon Smith, Manjiri Lall (Carter Building artist), Donna and Jim Belt joined in serving cupcakes donated by Sara Coleman Fitzpatrick at the Cupcake Shoppe.

“I collected a pocket full of e-mails from Glenwood Tower residents,” Jim Belt commented after introducing activities sponsored by the GSNC. “They all wanted to help with sidewalk clean up, planting and anything else we plan to do in the neighborhood.” St. Saviour’s Center also offers a variety of ongoing opportunities for community service including Wake Relief Food Pantry, Community Music School, Meals on Wheels and a Diaper Train that is part of the Healthy Baby program.

I extend my sincere THANK YOU to all who knitted, donated yarn, and sewed blankets together, allowing this serial project to morph from temporary tree art to blankets that will warm newly made friends for a long time to come.

Written by Donna Belt