Home is a Garden.

“Home is a Garden”  is a photography series that features the community gardens of Dwelling Place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Artist Statement:

I have the privilege of working for New City Neighbors, a youth development non-profit that has an urban farming program. In the Spring of 2022, New City Neighbors had an excess of vegetable plant starts from it’s Spring Garden Sale. I mentioned this to a friend and resident of Dwelling Place, an organization that provides affordable housing in Grand Rapids. My friend encouraged me to bring the plants to the community garden behind the old Herkimer Hotel. I couldn’t have imagined the beauty of the garden space, nor the joy of the residents when I arrived with the plants. I was truly touched by what I experienced.

As summer approached, I decided to apply for the short-term Artist-In-Residence position with Dwelling Place. My initial interest was exploring the idea of “home” with residents through visual art. Looking for a way to spend time with residents, I was drawn again to the garden, where I often find life and connection with God and fellow humans. I couldn’t have envisioned the glory that emerged as I used my camera to capture images of the gardens and neighbors working in the dirt, bringing natural beauty to downtown Grand Rapids. And thus, the Home is a Garden series was born.

My hope is that as you explore these captures that you’ll imagine what home means to some of the residents at Dwelling Place, and further, that you will consider what home means for you.

– R.R. Tavárez