Is folk art in Brundidge going down the toilet?

Published 11:00 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

2-16 TOILET SIX_web

Folk art in Brundidge just might be going down the toilet.

From the looks of things, it appears to be headed right in that direction.

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And, if so, Chris Rich and his wife, Sara, just might the credit.

Rebranding the town has been the topic of much discussion in recent weeks. Perhaps, Chris Rich and his wife, Sara, are holding a royal flush.

Rich chuckles when asked about the back alley art gallery that is causing more than a little interest – and participation — from the townspeople.

Actually, the folksy art display started simply. With one discarded basic white toilet.

The toilet was taken out of the barbershop next to studio 116, which is owned and operated by Rich and his wife.

“It was supposed to be picked up but sat there for several months. Sara and I thought that, if it was going to sit there, it should be used,” Rich said, tongue in cheek. “We knew the toilet would make a great planter. So, we put in the soil and a plant and had a potted plant.”

Vickie Dickert, who owns and operates the MarketPlace in Brundidge, liked the idea of sprucing up a dull alley with “potted” plants, donated a basic white pot to the project.

“Homer Homann said the display and offered us all of the toilets that the Troy Shrine Club had changed out at the fairgrounds. Twelve of them,” Rich said. “First National Bank had remodeled the building on the corner of Main Street and the toilets were in the dumpster. We pulled them out.”

One potted plant has grown into Flushing Meadows garden with a variety of blooming plants.

“Toilets make natural planters,” Rich said. “The water from the toilet tank naturally flows into the bowl and the excess water seeps out. So, a toilet has its own watering system from top to bottom.”

Most of the pots have been planted with a variety of blooming plants and grasses. Red Root Farms has offered herbs for planting when pots become available.

The toilets stand against the old alleyway brick wall of studio 116 like sentries on guard or like young ladies awaiting the debutant ball – depending.

“Some of the toilets have something planted in the tank and in the bowl,” Rich said. “We should have a lot of blooms in the spring and summer.”

The Toilet Garden runs the length of the back of studio 116. However, there is space along the back walls of the other businesses if the other business owners would like for their backside to be gallery space.

“We’ve kept the toilets along our wall,” Rich said. “Sara and I don’t want to impose our aesthetics on others.”

But Rich would like for Flushing Meadows to be the roots for a green space project that would incorporate the back of the buildings on the west side of Main Street.

“When we have the Peanut Butter Festival and SpringFest a lot of people are exposed to the alley,” he said. “It would be nice to have a green space back there as opposed to an area that is back of the buildings so we don’t have to worry about it.”

But for the owners of studio 116, the back alley is how they enter and leave their studio most of the time.

“That’s the first thing we see when we get to the studio and the last thing we see when we leave at night,” Rich said. “We want it to look nice and the hibiscus look pretty up against the red brick wall.”

The back alley toilet garden is the town’s latest venture into the folk arts. It’s got folks talking and, if they are saying, “way to go” then Rich’s plan for the back alley revitalization just might float.