By TRACEY PRICE and CINDY SIMON
Special to Circling the News
This year’s upcycling public art installation at Simon Meadow is “Cultivating Color 2021.” Those visiting the YMCA’s Pumpkin Patch, at the corner of Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard, are invited to look at the art that was created by upcycling – the process of taking an item that is normally considered trash and turning it into something of enjoyment or beauty.
Winding Way is a nature trail, in Simon Meadow, which was created five years ago in what was previously an unused and overgrown section of the land. Tracey Price of American Growers, a local landscaping company, and Dorothy Miyake and Cindy Simon, longtime friends and champions of the YMCA, cleared out the debris and filled the area with colorful birdhouses, wooden bridges, stone walls and several seating areas, all shaded by native coast live oak trees.
Each October, the artists take a fresh look at the space and add a few enhancements to the area. This year, a dry rock riverbed was added and filled with boulders and native grasses under the large walking bridge.
Additional Arbutus marina trees were planted along the edge of the paths. The stacked stone wall was extended to provide more seating. Acacia covenyi shrubs were planted in the large pots in the seating area.
Winding Way has been filled with upcycled art that is colorful and decorative. Hanging chains were created, filled with colorful plastic bottle caps, toys, bottles and many small bells which delight young children.
Hundreds of strands of crocheted yarn were hung from hoops, tied to limbs of the large coast live oak tree in the center of Winding Way.
Tall, circular cardboard towers, donated by fabric and drapery stores, with colorful duct tape, were repurposed and sealed at the top with large plastic bottle caps. Branches were wrapped with yarn, creating elaborate spider webs, which now hang on the tree trunks.
When the Y’s Pumpkin Patch opened, we were delighted to hear the description “lovely” used again and again by those meandering through Winding Way.
Even those who have visited several of the big pumpkin patches throughout Los Angeles that are filled with activities and energy found this pumpkin patch, with its manageable size and homespun atmosphere, welcoming and peaceful. Winding Way is a bonus of Simon Meadow, a place to slow down the pace of life and wander aimlessly along colorful art-filled paths under the shade of oak trees.
Visit the installation and maybe you will see something that will inspire you to create some upcycled art of your own.
The past year, the COVID pandemic has consumed us. We were hunkered down in our houses, and then when allowed outside, we were tentative and cautious. Now, in the autumn of 2021, with vaccinations available, there is a “re-entering the world” feeling amongst us.
“Cultivating Color 2021” reminds visitors to embrace positivity, celebrate diversity, and welcome the creative process that evolves when humans connect with one another. Our motto is always, “If you exit Winding Way with a smile on your face, we have done our job!”
The YMCA Pumpkin Patch is open Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30 – or until the pumpkins are sold.
(Editor’s note: Cindy Simon and Tracey Price sent special thanks to Palisades-Malibu YMCA Director Jim Kirtley (“who supports us in every art endeavor we suggest”), the employees of American Growers (“for the exceptional care and maintenance of Simon Meadow and Winding Way”), Matt Rodman (“who brought along his power drill to secure the birdhouses in Winding Way”), Dorothy Miyake (“who jumped at the opportunity to contribute hundreds of colorful crocheted strands”) and to their families (David, David Jr., Bennett and Audrey Price, and Bill, Willie, Griffith & Taylor Simon and Jason & Lulu Martuscello “for being our biggest cheerleaders.”)