Earth Day is Every Day in Venice

Apr 21, 2010 by Lisa Newton

In case you didn’t know, tomorrow is Earth Day, a day designed to inspire awareness, appreciation, and understanding of and for our planet.

Instead of writing a list of the different events taking place today, we’re sharing a story about a group of people who are of the belief that Earth Day should be every day. At the corner of 6th Avenue and San Juan in Venice, is a lot owned by the Bethel Tabernacle. There, Robin Murez , is spear heading a group of volunteers who are turning a blighted street corner into a beautiful and fascinating neighborhood park, complete with an in-ground labyrinth.

A labyrinth is a non-denominational spiritual path, which is uniquely suited for the Church’s lot, and the Venice neighborhood which has a strong spiritual history. To date, over 50 people have volunteered their time to paint, plant, and dig in order to accomplish building this small park, with most volunteers coming from the local neighborhood. Individuals aren’t the only ones who are volunteering. Several businesses including Westchester Plumbing, helped install a new irrigation system; Control Printing, who is helping with their upcoming T-shirt campaign; and Naylor Paints, who provided the paints that are being used to freshly paint the church walls.

The church, Bethel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, was built in 1927, is just down the street from the historic Kinney-Tabor House., Its pastor, Elder Harold G. Smith, has been with the church for 15 years, along with Mother Sammie Moore, who welcomed me with open arms when I stopped by to visit. There is a sign on the front of the church that declares, “Everyone is Welcome.”

This project is the first of several planned community based efforts by Robin who heads the group, “Venice Neighborhood Ball Parks.”

Their stated mission is:

To create public green spaces wherever we can throughout Venice; each with unique landscaping suited to its neighborhood; each with a mosaic sphere (Ball) that is both sculptural seating and a neighborhood ‘logo.’ It greens and beautifies Venice; celebrates our diversity and enhances the unity of our community.

The Grand Opening celebration for this particular event is on May 1st, which also coincides with both the Venice Garden and Home Tour, and the World Labyrinth Day.

From 10am to 5pm, they’ll be hosting live music, dance, labyrinth events, and food. But, before any of the celebration takes place, there’s more work to be done.

For this year’s Earth Day, celebrate it by helping to create a park. So head over to 6th and San Juan in Venice. Volunteers are welcome to come on Thursday, April 22nd,between 10am-4pm.  Think about it–wouldn’t is be great to come back here in a few years and tell yourself, “Hey, I helped create this park!”

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