New mural coming to the community garden at the Workforce Innovation Skills Hub
Note: The article has been updated to reflect some additional information from Supv. Lusk's office about the community garden's affiliation with the WISH.
The community garden at the Workforce Innovation Skills Hub (WISH) —located at the Hybla Valley Community Center — will be getting some artwork in coming months thanks to funding from a local nonprofit and the talents of a local artist.
The Alexandria South Rotary Club, in partnership with the club’s Mount Vernon chapter, is providing a $2,000 Rotary District Grant to the WISH to help fund the development of a 430 square-foot mural on a garden fence located at the rear of the community center. The design concept is still in development, according to a representative from Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk’s office, but the patterns, shapes and colors will “portray a sense of community” and include motivational quotes provided by community members.
Local artist Eddie Harris of STUDIO47DC, who spent much of his youth in the Hybla Valley/Gum Springs area and has previously done murals at the Gum Springs Community Center, Creative Learning School daycare and new Capital Chicken restaurant in South County, has been commissioned to create the artwork. Community members will also have a hand in the mural, joining local faith-based organizations for a future community painting day. Lusk’s office hopes the mural is complete by spring 2024.
The Alexandria South Rotary Club has had a long-standing relationship with neighborhoods served by the community center, said chapter president Ul James. He noted that the club has partnered with the community and nearby schools on camping trips, tutoring, English language mentoring, food and clothing distributions and raised garden development in the past.
James said the Rotary Club chapters are "very pleased" to support the new community garden, which provides produce for local families and was recently updated with fencing, a pathway and benches.
“The mural art will enhance the gardens as a place of community pride and a gathering place for neighbors to experience the joy of growing fresh healthy food,” he said.