WATERVILLE — In conjunction with National Garden Week (June 6-12), Waterville Creates announces the Sunflower Project, a collaborative community-wide initiative designed to engage everyone from novice gardeners to experienced horticulturists in creating moments of sunshine in the urban landscape, feeding local birds and wildlife, and providing pollinating stations for bees.

Inspired by the National Garden Bureau’s declaration of 2021 as the Year of the Sunflower, this weeks-long project aims to help beautify the community and engage residents of all ages in the joys and healthful benefits of gardening. One aspect of the project is “Sunflower Houses” that will be sowed into the ground to create outdoor floral “rooms” for community members and visitors to enjoy. Sunflower Houses are currently planned at the River Walk, Railroad Square Cinema, Alfond Youth & Community Center and the Children’s Discovery Museum.

“We are excited to incorporate sunflower and nature-related programming as part of our outdoor Art in the Park program this summer,” says Serena Sanborn, education and outreach coordinator at Waterville Creates.  “We’re looking forward to using the Sunflower Houses as inspiration for our free art-making activities each Thursday at Head of Falls from 3-5 p.m.”

Also included in the project are three Sunflower Selfie Stations, created by local artist Desiree Dubois and with collaboration between Waterville Creates, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, City of Waterville, local artists and area businesses. The Sunflower Selfie-Stations will offer fun, creative opportunities for residents and visitors to capture photographs in downtown Waterville. They will be located at the Waterville Public Library, Head of Falls and Castonguay Square, and will appear at different times throughout the summer. Visitors are encouraged to use the hashtag #watervillelife to post and share their selfies on social media accounts.

Waterville Creates thanks a volunteer core led by garden enthusiasts Margy Burns Knight and Steve Knight, and community partners at the Waterville Public Library, City of Waterville, Alfond Youth Community Center, Children’s Discovery Museum, Waterville Farmers’ Market and Kennebec Messalonskee Trail, for their work on this project.

“This undertaking is where art and nature intersect and we’re so thrilled to collaborate with so many community partners,” says Margy Burns Knight, lead volunteer.

Special thanks to Ware-Butler for its donation of time and materials to support this project.

For more information, please visit watervillecreates.org/shows/the-waterville-sunflower-project/. 

Waterville Creates connects artists, organizations and the public with arts and cultural events and programs happening in our community. Supporting and promoting arts education, exhibitions, theatre, film, music, and dance that is accessible to all, Waterville Creates is leading the effort to make Waterville an exciting cultural destination and a thriving, vibrant community. For more information about Waterville Creates, visit www.watervillecreates.org.