Yarn Arms Around Port is a community-wide public art project that will adorn up to 50 local trees on Main Street in Port Washington with “Yarn Arms” – lovingly crocheted arms that literally hug the trees. The project starts this winter with the installation in April 2022 on the occasion of Earth Month.
The project is led by activist and fiber artist Allison White in collaboration with Residents Forward and funded with a donation from the Alana Benjamin Group and Frank Ullman. The goal, says White, is to highlight environmental awareness, reflect the diverse population of Port, attract visitors to our business district and provide a fun activity for everyone.
“We hope to create beautiful public art as a community, highlighting the importance of trees and caring for the environment and one another,” White said. She explains that the project is a type of “yarn bombing”, an increasingly popular form of street art, in which brightly colored patterns made from knitted or crocheted yarn are used to decorate trees or the built environment. White added that a local arborist confirms the twine arms pose no threat to the trees.
“We are very excited to be working together on this project,” said Trish Class, Executive Director of Residents Forward. “It’s an exciting and new way to highlight Earth Month and we look forward to this additional environmental education opportunity.”
Volunteers are sought from across the community to crochet arms and help with other aspects of the project. A yarn store in Port Washington, The Knitting Place, will donate skin-colored yarn for hand design. Each arm of yarn is made up of individual granny squares – a familiar beginner crochet pattern that even children can learn. The handicrafts and the putting together of the squares are done by more experienced crocheters.
White and her other “fiber enthusiast” Mary Alice Kohs plan to hold crochet 101 classes in the community and do handicrafts at the Port Washington Public Library. A list of supporting organizations ranging from the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce to the Littig House Community Center will also help spread the word. The library will serve as the central collection point for receiving the finished grandma’s squares and hands.
“I love the idea of a community art project that beautifies our local streets while highlighting such important messages as environmental protection and inclusion,” said Councilor Mariann Dalimonte, who helped make trees on the property of the Town of North Hempstead “hugged” belong.
The kick-off for the project funded by the library and Residents Forward will take place on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 p.m. via Zoom). A Yarn Arms Around Port Facebook group provides updates, including information on patterns and opportunities for volunteers. To make a financial donation to cover the cost of supplies and environmental education, email email@example.com. For more information, contact Allison White at 917-848-4861 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Submitted by Residents Forward