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A young man with blonde hair wearing a peach button-down t-shirt and khaki shorts is smiling at the camera, holding a leafy vegetable in one hand and radishes in the other hand, standing in front of raised garden beds.

General | July 25, 2023

Weitz Fellow Voices: Tyrone at The Union for Contemporary Art

By Tyrone Quigley

This is a guest blog by one of our Weitz Fellows, Tyrone Quigley. This blog is estimated to take 3 minutes to read.

Hi! My name is Tyrone Quigley (he/him) and I’m the Weitz Fellow at The Union for Contemporary Art this year. I’ve been super lucky to have the opportunity to work at such an impactful, inspiring, and caring organization. Throughout my year here, I was able to help out in most of the Union’s program areas, including our Populus Fund regranting initiative, our Youth Engagement and Neighborhood Arts programming, and the Co-op Studios. I have also hopped into organizational discussions in the realms of development and operations, and gained insights into that crucial element of how a community arts organization can be sustained. The program at the Union that I have been most involved in is our Abundance Garden and I hope that in this blog, I can share a little bit about the work I’ve done there.

The Abundance Garden is a community garden in the back of our building with 960 square feet of raised beds, a geodesic dome greenhouse for cool-weather planting, fruit trees and bushes, and native prairie plantings. The garden is open to all, and anyone can come harvest. Additionally, what we grow is distributed throughout the summer at free farm stands. On Summer Saturdays, we set up in our parking lot and share produce from our garden and from community partners (The Big Garden, City Sprouts, Free Farm Syndicate). Now in our third year of the stand, we are lucky to have a number of regulars who we can count on to come pick up produce and share in conversation while we continue to draw new people every week.

This year I have been able to plan and manage our food-growing operation as well as organize our free produce stands, summer workshops, and cooking classes. I began the process of planning the garden in the winter, learning a lot about crop rotations, companion planting, and selecting seed varieties. Luckily, I had the wisdom and support of many people in this process, especially Isabel Arévalo (the previous fellow at the Union), Alex O’Hanlon, and Free Farm Syndicate. As the season picked up, working in the garden continued to be a way to build relationships with the vital networks of mutual support that exist within Omaha’s Urban Agriculture world. Through starting seeds in a communally cared for greenhouse, canning salsa and tomato sauce at a friend’s house, and helping plant and care for plots around town, I have learned a ton.

As the season has now fully kicked off, I feel lucky to spend time caring for plants and observing the magical cycles of growth, decay, and rebirth that play out in the Garden. As an artist, this work is profoundly inspiring and connects me more deeply to the natural patterns and systems that much of my own work explores. I feel grateful for the wonderful studios and artistic community present at the Union that supports me in these explorations.


A young woman is seated at a pottery wheel giving a workshop demonstration to three other people who are seated and facing her.

Carleton Weitz Fellows | June 11, 2024

Weitz Fellow Voices: Emily at The Union for Contemporary Art

By Emily Luna

This is a guest blog by one of our Weitz […]

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