Participants will gather at The Carter Building at 10am on the morning of January 25 before trailing down the length of Glenwood Avenue to Peace Street, leaving the trees dressed in stripes and patterns of every color. Hot chocolate and snacks will be served at 11:00 at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, when visitors and participants gather for comments from city officials, prizes awarded to knitters, and a drawing of gift certificates from local merchants.
For the past six weeks, knitters have been meeting each Friday at SpiritWorks Studio at the Carter Building to create Tree Sweaters for the city owned trees lining the Glenwood South thoroughfare. Many cars pass through on their way into downtown, but merchants and residents have banded together into the Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative to offer reasons to stop on their street, long before their popular late night businesses come into full swing.
“What better way to show who we are than a community art project?” asked Donna Belt, owner of SpiritWorks Studio. “Tree Sweaters are whimsical and as varied as each of us are.” Even Belt is surprised at the response to this community art initiative, which originally aimed for 70 Tree Sweaters. More than 50 participants, aged 8 – 80 have responded, creating 100 Tree Sweaters, each in their own colors and styles.
City Council showed their support for this initiative by approving a petition for the Tree Sweaters presented at their January 7 meeting. Policies established through the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department in response to this community art project promise to streamline future grass roots art installations that they believe will continue to enhance the appeal of Raleigh’s downtown.
Since their first meeting at Hampton Inn and Suites on December 9, residents and business owners of Glenwood South have worked together with the Downtown Living Advocates, Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Shop Local Raleigh to pursue a number of strategies aimed at maximizing the vitality of businesses, and building a bond between residents and neighboring restaurants and clubs. This Tree Sweater installation is a colorful start to their plans which range from refining late night noise ordinances to fostering well lit, attractive sidewalk scapes.