THE GARDEN

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As a founding member the Fountain Community Gardens, artist Alex Alferov has been involved in its organization, structure and operations from its inception. His home and studio are located across the street from the community garden on Fountain Avenue.

 

Fountain Community Gardens was founded in the spring of 2009 after community members demanded that a solution be found to deal with a dilapidated city lot.

 

Since the 1970s, the lot had been used as a way station for trailers offering temporary housing for families in transition, mainly those of poor single mothers.

 

That program ended in the '80s, but the trailers were left behind, and local gangs and meth cooks moved in. After a fire that began on the lot and burned down a neighboring house, the community demanded that the city take action. A higher fence was built, and the site was slated for a community center.

 

After a couple of attempts by the city to bring a community center to the space were shelved because of finances, the low cost of a community garden won the use of the lot.

 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Fountain Community Gardens was held on June 6, 2009, with 65 plots measuring 5 by 14 feet. There are currently 69 plots, with four plots raised to a height comfortable for a disabled gardener.  There is a small community orchard with a collection of dwarf-size fruit trees. There are 80 to 120 people currently engaged in the garden, reflecting the makeup of the neighborhood, including families, young couples and various aged singles.

 

Fountain Community Gardens, with its distinctive metal gates created by East Los Angeles artist Michael Amescua, continues to reflect the changing demographics in the area and celebrates the many ethnic communities in Hollywood.

 

Alferov has encouraged art to flourish in the garden, creating revolving murals on the tool shed and getting Paramount Pictures to build a standing wall for art projects during seasonal potlucks and events for the members, their families and friends. And altar building for the Day of the Dead has become a yearly tradition, honoring and celebrating the Latino heritage of many garden members.

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