Tucked away in a Brevard County neighborhood is an oasis of art.
It is there that Maxine Trainer nurtures her “Arts in the Garden.” The UK born artist is planting the seeds of creativity within her diverse community.
“We have it here each day, especially in the art camps, we go to different countries of the world, like yesterday we did India and the day before we did Japan, and we learn about the culture of all these different countries and the language and the religion,” Trainer said.
For 8 years now, kids of all ages have escaped to the garden to participate in a growing variety of venues offered during Maxine's summer camp and after school programs. The garden is blooming.
“We really want to build a dance area for the choreography and the dance, these kids, this is what they need, especially in this wonderful pop culture that we live in right now, you have to emphasize their talents -- whatever it may be -- and it's explained to the kids too that 'hey, you may not like this but you can appreciate it,'” Trainer said.
But it wouldn't be Arts in the Garden without an actual garden. Here the reds, yellows and green reflect veggies, herbs and flowers.
And it's not just for kids. Maxine has seven interns from 14 to 21 years old. For their 2o hours of weekly training, they exchange work to keep the gardens flourishing as they also are growing as artists.
The staff is all volunteers -- former teachers, veterans and moms. Local musicians like Peter Brown are coaching the budding talent.
Fees are a formality as the garden flourishes with community contributions.
“The people of Titusville have been fabulous with donations,” said Trainer. “They come up and say, 'I've got all this paint in my garage, do you want it’ and I'm like ‘art!’”
Local businesses have contributed construction materials to expand the covered areas. The city offered old street signs, which have been turned into art with a message.
“Everything that you see here in this garden is recycled,” Trainer said. “It's from the dumpster. It's from somebody donating it. Many people come along, they're fabulous. They come along and bring tables, chairs.”
Maxine's ultimate goal is to open a school of the arts utilizing local talent and the power of art to change kids’ lives.
“It's finding a way to express yourself, in every shape or whatever it is,” Trainer said. “These kids, everybody has to express themselves. Great therapy, cheaper than therapy any day, way cheaper, but it's about that and it's a very positive, incredibly positive point to get across to people.”
Arts in the Garden also encourages kids to help animals and working with a local shelter, which has managed to adopt out 64 cats.