Fallen Fruit Descends on Columbus

Wed, Dec 07, 2016

Columbus, OH–In partnership with the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles-based art collaborative project Fallen Fruit, led by artists David Allen Burns and Austin Young, has launched a multi-part project steeped in the history and culture of Columbus. The public phase of this effort will begin with the transformation of two sites in local neighborhoods from empty lots to living food sources as part of the Fallen Fruit’s ongoing Endless Orchard initiative. Local volunteers are being sought to assist.

Conceived in 2004, Fallen Fruit coined the term, “public fruit”, and began mapping fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles. The collaborative work, originally started by Burns, Matias Viegener and Young, has continued with Burns and Young since 2013 and has expanded to include serialized public projects, site-specific installations, and happenings in various cities around the world.

For Fallen Fruit’s Columbus project, the artists will work with community supporters to create fruit parks on a 4,200 square-foot parcel at the corner of 4th Street and 11th Avenue in Weinland Park, and a half-acre parcel of land at the corner of Reeb and Parsons Avenues on Columbus’ South Side.

The Weinland Park site, Weinland Park Berry Patch, will hold an installation of about 40 berry bushes native to the season, chosen for hardiness and sweetness. About 40 trees will be planted at the South Side location, to be called South Side Fruit Park. A fruit tree adoption program will be launched at both sites to engage more community residents, organizations and businesses, and will extend fruit trees and bushes beyond the park.

The fruit each location will yield is intended for the community to share and will be selected with an eye towards the history and preferences of each neighborhood. Varieties will also be “timed” to ensure that upon maturity, something will always be available during the growing season. For both sites, community neighbors will also be invited to propagation workshops in which they can share cuttings of favorite flowering vines, and fruit-producing trees and bushes, for planting in the installation. These final plantings in the park will be tagged to identify the contributing families and the history of their chosen fruits and shrubs.

All the fruit planted will be mapped on an in-development website and mobile app for Fallen Fruit’s massive public art project, Endless Orchard, launched in early 2016.

“This park doesn’t follow the model of a ‘community garden’, but rather a communally shared space and a beautiful spot to hang out or share a meal with family and friends, where fresh fruit can be freely enjoyed by neighbors, and park visitors”, according to Burns and Young.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Wex and Fallen Fruit, and others on this wonderful project in South Columbus”, says Bob Leighty, Executive Director of the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association—one of a number of local partner organizations. “Our new fruit park will be a special gathering place for young and old alike, where we can enjoy fresh fruit and build meaningful relationships with family and friends."

In tandem with Fallen Fruit’s community outreach, the artists have conducted research at the Ohio History Connection to produce a site-specific installation, Block After Block, for the Wexner Center’s public spaces and Heirloom Café. This work will debut in March 2017. More information will be shared in a forthcoming announcement about the center’s spring exhibitions.

Fallen Fruit’s projects in Columbus are produced in close collaboration with The City of Columbus, The Ohio State University Extension, Community Housing Network, Parsons Avenue Merchants Association, The Reeb-Hosack/Steelton Village Association, Wagenbrenner Properties, the Weinland Park Community Civic Association, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Funding is provided by The Columbus Foundation, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, and Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.