Plans and DreamsPosted: October 8, 2011
What is the McElroy House: Center for Foklife, Oral History, and Community Action?
Mission Statement: A research and advocacy organization for the support and exploration of folklife, oral history, sustainability, community action, and inter-cultural and inter-generational partnerships in Yell County and the Arkansas river valley.
In more detail, the McElroy House is a grassroots community organization located in Dardanellle, Arkansas. Someday soon this house pictured above, named in honor of former owners, the late Lloyd and Golda McElroy, will become the physical location of our organization and will serve as a hub for our work. Our work itself, however, exists throughout the community in the form of public school partnerships focusing on living traditions and oral history, local publications focusing on the diverse culture of the area, and inter-generational and inter-cultural partnerships that work to strengthen our community. Right now we’re working on the creation of a local garden book which will help raise awareness about the center and shed light on the role gardening plays throughout the community. Read all about that by clicking here.
* The house itself will include a kitchen, small meeting area, and media/resource room for recording audio interviews and producing audio programs. The building will have multiple uses including a place to hang out, a location for small group meetings, a spot for community-led ESL classes, after-school tutoring and projects, media resource information, and a host of other community needs. We’ll also open up our kitchen to community kitchen partnerships and our garden to classes for both old and young.
You can tell by looking at this photo that it’s not a big place. Many events will be housed in other, larger buildings in the community. But the building itself will operate as a hub for all other projects and events. As of right now the building is not ready for use as a Center. But that’s not stopping us from doing community work! If you want to read more about that back story, click here.
*The grass area you see out front will be converted into a water-conservation parking area, based loosely on the water-conservation parking lot at Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. And we’ll be setting up rain barrels and other conservation tools on site. We want this building and organization to be sustainable as possible, both culturally and environmentally.
*We’ll be converting the area near the bushes and along the walkway into a butterfly/memorial garden to honor all those in our area who have lost their lives to cancer. All plants will be native flowers or ones donated by community members. We’d especially love to include seeds or bulbs from your garden if you’re willing to share! The garden will be a place where you can enjoy the beauty of flowers, bees, and butterflies.
* The vegetable garden will be located to the right of the house in the same place Lloyd McElroy kept his garden. Veggies raised in the garden will be used for the food preservation and gardening classes, all of which will be taught by community members.
* The backyard of the Center will be a child-friendly place where kids can learn about different gardening traditions and have a place to play.
That’s it in a nutshell. Our first project we’re working on is a community produced book featuring local gardeners talking about their gardens and what those gardens mean to them. You can read all about that here.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Want to know more about previous projects and other folklife and community discussions related to the river valley area? Visit The Boiled Down Juice Blog orfollow the blog on facebook. And be sure and tell your friends!