Perry Park Yarnstorming Combines Art, Social Activism

Perry Park in Somerville is getting a makeover this weekend as knitters and crocheters decorate the landscape with handmade fiber arts. The Nave Gallery is yarnstorming the park as part of its year-long Wraparound Project that supports the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

“This particular event is in part a way to visibly support the work of the Somerville Homeless Coalition,” said Tori Costa, a Nave Gallery volunteer. “The tradition [of graffiti knitting] really began from a desire to reclaim public space, bring art to it and also bring social activism focused on the issues in the area.”

The Nave Gallery, located in Teele Square, is a volunteer-run gallery focusing on experimental, collaborative, local art. Every November, the gallery hosts a sale of knitted and crocheted items made by people in the community to raise money for the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

During last year’s sale, Costa and others began to feel that people were looking for more ways to get involved, so they came up with the Wraparound Project, a year-long campaign with several events that knitters and crocheters can participate in to support the work of the Somerville Homeless Coalition. The Yarnstorming of Perry Park this Saturday, August 25 is the latest iteration of this project.

“We’re really lucky to be located in an area with a very generous community. People get excited and are generous with their time and skills,” Costa said. “There’s an interesting sense of community that has developed around this project that’s very inspiring.”

The Wraparound Project has been a success thus far, with knitters and crocheters young and old attending its twice-monthly Knit & Sip meet-ups where they create items to be sold at the November fundraiser. There was also an event dubbed the Great Yarn Swap in May, where local knitters and crocheters donated unused yarn, fabric, books and more to be swapped with others in the community.

“It was a huge hit. We raised money for the coalition and collected tons of food and nonperishables for them,” Costa said. “Then in November we’re doing the sale again and we’re also doing a fiber art exhibit to accompany the sale, so both the sale and the exhibit will be happening at the same time at the Nave Gallery.”

Costa isn’t sure how many people will attend the Yarnstorming event this Saturday, but so far the community response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I think the greatest thing about Somerville is it’s very supportive of its arts community,” Costa said. “Somerville has a very long tradition of trying to do something unique and different and really trying to help the vulnerable communities in the area. Everyone was really excited about the idea.”


Saturday, August 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Perry Park (361 Washington St.)
Yarn and needles will be provided or you can bring your own! There will also be handmade knitted and crocheted crafts for sale. And if you can’t make it this weekend, stop by to see the exhibit until November 11.


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