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Prosperity Gardens in Jantzen Beach RV Park (2020)

Prosperity Gardens in Jantzen Beach RV Park is a socially engaged art project that activates and archives container gardening with RV residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project engages the residents of Jantzen Beach RV Park, a neighborhood on Hayden Island, Portland, Oregon. Through a series of garden tours, storytelling and art projects, the objective is to encourage hope, sustainability, and to strengthen social fabric. Through partnership with The Prosperity Garden Network, all gardens are then linked together through a registry to provide Portland residents with solitary support through a common labor practice. The project aims to address social issues like healthy eating, positive movements towards climate change through using recycled materials, and community building exercises during social distancing. As unemployment rates reach new and unforeseen levels, RV residents are spending more time outside to enjoy the sunshine, dirt, and engaging with the RV artist-in-residence inquisitive questions.
Drawing of my personal prosperity garden, 2020
I became fascinated with my neighbors when I noticed how they used plants to showcase their creativity and curated their lots with visual cues to communicate their residential status. I noticed it the moment we parked our rig and climbed out of the truck from our long journey. My neighbors used contouring techniques to line the outside of their RV’s with temporary and moveable gardens should they need to leave. However, since the national emergency, migration has been suspended making travelers dock for the foreseeable future. The moment created a temporary permanence in which people were metaphorically laying down roots until they felt it was safe to leave. It became important to engage in storytelling and ask for personal garden tours, all of which showed me that archiving contemporary nomadic culture could be explored and celebrated through plants and art.
Resident's RV Gardens (above) Jodi showing her rosemary, (below) 2020

In Spring 2020, Assembly, an Art & Social Practice Event transitioned its in-person event to online. I interviewed Alan (below) and asked him to give a digital tour of his RV garden that he has been cultivating for years. See below video for garden tour. 

Interviews with other residents about the Prosperity Gardens at Jantzen Beach RV Park can be found here in the Assembly 2020 Web Publication

Project by Shelbie Loomis w/ Jantzen Beach RV Residence

Location: Portland, Oregon 

Year: 2021 

Gardens, RV, COVID-19
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