‘Yarn Arms Around Port’ community eco-art project Launches Nov. 16 on Zoom

The Island Now

“Yarn Arms Around Port” is a community-wide public art project that will decorate up to 50 local trees on Main Street, Port Washington with “yarn arms” — lovingly crocheted arms that will literally hug the trees. The project will launch this winter with installation in April 2022 in celebration of Earth Month.

The project is spearheaded by activist and fiber artist Allison White in partnership with Residents Forward and funded with a donation by the Alana Benjamin Group and Frank Ullman.

The goal, said White, is to highlight environmental awareness, reflect Port’s diverse population, attract visitors to our commercial district, and provide a fun activity for all.

“We hope to make beautiful public art as a community, and to highlight the importance of trees and of caring for the environment and one another,” said White. She explains that the project is a type of “yarn bombing,” an increasingly popular form of street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn to decorate trees or the built environment. White added that a local arborist confirms that the yarn arms will pose no risk to the trees.

“We are very excited to partner 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 added opportunity for environmental education.”

Volunteers are being sought from throughout the community to crochet the arms and assist in other aspects of the project. A Port Washington yarn shop, The Knitting Place, will donate skin-tone yarn for creating the hands. Each yarn arm will be made up of individual granny squares — a well-known beginner crochet pattern that even children can learn to make. Crafting the hands and assembling the squares will be completed by more experienced crocheters.

White and fellow “fiber enthusiast” Mary Alice Kohs plan to hold “Crochet 101” lessons in the community and to hold crafting events 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 help spread the word as well.

The library will serve as a central collection point for receiving the completed granny squares and hands.

“I love the idea of a community art project that beautifies our local roads while highlighting such important messages as environmental protection and inclusion,” said North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte, who helped ensure trees on Town of North Hempstead property could be among those “hugged.”

The kick-off for the project sponsored by the Library and Residents Forward will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

For Zoom link please visit the library’s event calendar at http://pwpl.org/events (scroll down to date for event). A Facebook group “Yarn Arms Around Port” provides updates including information on patterns and volunteer opportunities. To make a financial donation to help cover the cost of supplies and environmental education efforts please email kim@residentsforward.org. For further information, contact Allison White at (917) 848-4861 or yarnarmsaroundport@gmail.com.

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