October102011

WE’VE MOVED!

Tumblr is awesome…but not for what we needed.

So, we’ve switched over to a Wordpress site

Check us out here :

http://mcelroyhouse.wordpress.com/

Thanks!! 

October52011

McElroy House Presentation at the Dardanelle Historical Society

On Monday October 17 there will be a presentation about the McElroy House and our current and future work in the community including:

* Projects between community youth and elders including youth-led local research projects. 

* The upcoming garden book. which will feature area residents discussing how and why they garden and how gardening connects them to their homes and community.  The Garden Book will raise money for the creation of the community vegetable and memorial flower garden at the McElroy House.   

The meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. at the Dardanelle Senior Center at 615 N. 5th, right behind the ARVAC building on South Arkansas. 

September202011

Art Walk and Chicken Fry this Saturday!

This coming weekend the McElroy House will have a booth at the River Valley Art Walk in downtown Dardanelle.  This will coincide with the annual Chicken Fry.  

We’ll be down on Front Street near the river from 1:00-4:00!  

Come by and say hello!  Or if you want to come sit at the booth for a while, please do!  We’d love the company and support! 

September152011

EAST lab in Dardanelle.

Great news, folks! We’re going to be working with the EAST lab classes at Dardanelle High School to help with community research and oral history interviews.  We’ll also be helping out with the audio/visual workshops next semester.  More news and details coming soon.  

If you are unfamiliar with the EAST national innitiave, here’s a quick overview from their webpage:

What is EAST?

The EAST Initiative is a nonprofit organization that provides new ways of learning for modern students.

The EAST model of education features student-driven service projects accomplished with the latest in technology. EAST classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art workstations, servers, software, and accessories, including GPS/GIS mapping tools, architectural and CAD design software, 3D animation suites, and much more. Students find problems in their local communities, and then use these tools to solve them.

EAST’s focus, however, is not on technology itself, but on the unique learning environment of the EAST classroom. In EAST, students are responsible for creating their own lesson plans. There are no lectures and no tests; instead, the students are guided by an EAST facilitator (a teacher trained in the EAST process). This radically different approach to learning yields tremendous results. Students are better-prepared for both college and the business world, and they care more about learning and serving their communities.

Click here to visit EAST’s webpage and learn more. 

Thanks for supporting the McElroy House! 

August302011

What We’re Working on: Garden Book!

Hello everyone!  Big news!  Our first project at the McElroy House is going to be a locally-produced book about river valley residents and their gardens.  The first edition of the book will feature a handful of gardeners discussing how they learned to garden, what they love to grow, and the role gardening plays in their lives as both individuals and community members.

This first book will be the first volume in what we hope will be a long-running series on gardens and gardeners in the area.  

Alert Printing Services (formerly Dardanelle Printers located downtown) will be printing the book and copies will available for a small donation.  When the book gets closer to publication we’ll be hosting some community events, but more on that in the near future! Right now we’re shooting to have this first volume of the book ready by early December and have the book available at the downtown Christmas Art Walk.    

All proceeds from the book will go toward the creation of the vegetable and memorial flower gardens in front of the Center.   All plants for the garden will come from local gardens, so if you have some plants or seeds you want to denote please let us know!  We’d love to have some of your plants come to live at the Center’s garden! 

August142011

Mission Statement

A research and advocacy organization for the support and exploration of folklife, oral history, sustainability, community action, and inter-cultural and inter-generational partnerships in Yell County and the Arkansas river valley. 

August52011
What is the McElroy House: Center for Foklife, Oral History, and Community Action?
Mission Statement: A research and advocacy organization for the support and exploration of folklife, oral history, sustainability, community action, and inter-cultural and inter-generational partnerships in Yell County and the Arkansas river valley. 
In more detail, the McElroy House is a grassroots community organization located in Dardanellle, Arkansas.  Someday soon this house pictured above, named in honor of former owners, the late Lloyd and Golda McElroy, will become the physical location of our organization and will serve as a hub for our work.  Our work itself, however, exists throughout the community in the form of public school partnerships focusing on living traditions and oral history, local publications focusing on the diverse culture of the area, and inter-generational and inter-cultural partnerships that work to strengthen our community.  Right now we’re working on the creation of a local garden book which will help raise awareness about the center and shed light on the role gardening plays throughout the community.  Read all about that by clicking here.  
* The house itself will include a kitchen, small meeting area, and media/resource room for recording audio interviews and producing audio programs.  The building will have multiple uses including a place to hang out, a location for small group meetings, a spot for community-led ESL classes, after-school tutoring and projects, media resource information, and a host of other community needs.  We’ll also open up our kitchen to community kitchen partnerships and our garden to classes for both old and young.  
You can tell by looking at this photo that it’s not a big place.  Many events will be housed in other, larger buildings in the community.  But the building itself will operate as a hub for all other projects and events.   As of right now the building is not ready for use as a Center.  But that’s not stopping us from doing community work!  If you want to read more about that back story, click here.  
*The grass area you see out front will be converted into a water-conservation parking area, based loosely on the water-conservation parking lot at Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas.   And we’ll be setting up rain barrels and other conservation tools on site.  We want this building and organization to be sustainable as possible, both culturally and environmentally.  
*We’ll be converting the area near the bushes and along the walkway into a butterfly/memorial garden to honor all those in our area who have lost their lives to cancer.  All plants will be native flowers or ones donated by community members.  We’d especially love to include seeds or bulbs from your garden if you’re willing to share! The garden will be a place where you can enjoy the beauty of flowers, bees, and butterflies.    
* The vegetable garden will be located to the right of the house in the same place Lloyd McElroy kept his garden.  Veggies raised in the garden will be used for the food preservation and gardening classes, all of which will be taught by community members.   
* The backyard of the Center will be a child-friendly place where kids can learn about different gardening traditions and have a place to play.  
That’s it in a nutshell.  Our first project we’re working on is a community produced book featuring local gardeners talking about their gardens and what those gardens mean to them.  You can read all about that here.  
Thanks so much for stopping by!  
Want to know more about previous projects and other folklife and community discussions related to the river valley area?  Visit The Boiled Down Juice Blog or follow the blog on facebook.  And be sure and tell your friends!  

What is the McElroy House: Center for Foklife, Oral History, and Community Action?

Mission Statement: A research and advocacy organization for the support and exploration of folklife, oral history, sustainability, community action, and inter-cultural and inter-generational partnerships in Yell County and the Arkansas river valley. 

In more detail, the McElroy House is a grassroots community organization located in Dardanellle, Arkansas.  Someday soon this house pictured above, named in honor of former owners, the late Lloyd and Golda McElroy, will become the physical location of our organization and will serve as a hub for our work.  Our work itself, however, exists throughout the community in the form of public school partnerships focusing on living traditions and oral history, local publications focusing on the diverse culture of the area, and inter-generational and inter-cultural partnerships that work to strengthen our community.  Right now we’re working on the creation of a local garden book which will help raise awareness about the center and shed light on the role gardening plays throughout the community.  Read all about that by clicking here.  

* The house itself will include a kitchen, small meeting area, and media/resource room for recording audio interviews and producing audio programs.  The building will have multiple uses including a place to hang out, a location for small group meetings, a spot for community-led ESL classes, after-school tutoring and projects, media resource information, and a host of other community needs.  We’ll also open up our kitchen to community kitchen partnerships and our garden to classes for both old and young.  

You can tell by looking at this photo that it’s not a big place.  Many events will be housed in other, larger buildings in the community.  But the building itself will operate as a hub for all other projects and events.   As of right now the building is not ready for use as a Center.  But that’s not stopping us from doing community work!  If you want to read more about that back story, click here.  

*The grass area you see out front will be converted into a water-conservation parking area, based loosely on the water-conservation parking lot at Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas.   And we’ll be setting up rain barrels and other conservation tools on site.  We want this building and organization to be sustainable as possible, both culturally and environmentally.  

*We’ll be converting the area near the bushes and along the walkway into a butterfly/memorial garden to honor all those in our area who have lost their lives to cancer.  All plants will be native flowers or ones donated by community members.  We’d especially love to include seeds or bulbs from your garden if you’re willing to share! The garden will be a place where you can enjoy the beauty of flowers, bees, and butterflies.    

* The vegetable garden will be located to the right of the house in the same place Lloyd McElroy kept his garden.  Veggies raised in the garden will be used for the food preservation and gardening classes, all of which will be taught by community members.   

* The backyard of the Center will be a child-friendly place where kids can learn about different gardening traditions and have a place to play.  

That’s it in a nutshell.  Our first project we’re working on is a community produced book featuring local gardeners talking about their gardens and what those gardens mean to them.  You can read all about that here.  

Thanks so much for stopping by!  

Want to know more about previous projects and other folklife and community discussions related to the river valley area?  Visit The Boiled Down Juice Blog or follow the blog on facebook.  And be sure and tell your friends!  

9PM

Welcome! Here’s What’s New With Us.

Welcome to the online gathering space for the McElroy House: Organization for Folklife, Oral History, and Community Action. 

If this is your first time to hear about us, we thank you so much for your interest!  Or maybe you heard about our plans for the Center which began back in 2009.   This blog will bring you up to date and, we hope, encourage you to join us! 

Back in 2008 when our plans for the center were first approved by the Dardanelle City Planning Commission, our goals were to provide a hub where youth could learn from their elders and diverse members of the community could come together to share living cultural traditions, swap and discuss ideas and concerns, and document and study oral history and community life in the Yell and Pope County areas of central Arkansas.  

(Tres Leche Cake from La Popular in Dardanelle, Arkansas)

In the past few years we’ve been talking to people who have created similar organizations in various areas across the nation and, most importantly, we’ve been listening to the voices in the community, hearing what others have to say about how the center can best serve the community as a whole.  There’s so many people we have yet to speak with, and we hope creating an online presence will help facilitate more conversations. 

We’ve been rather slow in getting off the ground, in part because we’ve been holding on to the idea that we needed to have the house itself ready before we could start working on some of the community projects we have planned.  And while we’ve been doing similar research work for a while now, we thought we needed the building in place before we could engage in larger projects and partnerships. For a variety of reasons, however, it could be some time before the building is ready for use as a center.  

(Future Home of the McElroy House and Garden)

So after much thought and some wise words from one of our organizations members, we’ve decided  we don’t have to wait on the building to begin the work.  Let the house come when it may.  It will be a nice addition but it’s not necessary.  After all, our work is out in the community——in the homes, community buildings, schools, senior centers, fellowship halls, barber shops, and panadarias——any place where people gather together.  

We’re still going to call our organization The McElroy House because the inspiration for the organization remains the same (see post above) and someday the house will be ready and it can serve as a hub for all the work that proceeds it.  We’re really excited about our big plans for an onsite garden and the small parking lot that will conserve water for use in the garden.  We want the building to be an extension of our core ideas and be as sustainable as possible, not to mention historic.  But we don’t need a building to work with people, document stories, work toward preserving living traditions, and envision the future of our home. 

(Decoration Days at Harkey’s Valley Cemetery.  Photo by Bryan Moats)

So this blog will keep you up to date on all our goings ons and provide information about ways to get involved no matter where you live. We’ll be letting you know about our decisions on non-profit status, possible membership models, and a host of other participatory funding options ( Of course, if you’re interested in the project and want to help out, we’ll glady take your good, old-fashioned philanthropy!).  We will also keep you up to date on current conversations and projects.  And we want to hear your ideas and suggestions!haha. 

More to come in future days.  Check back often!  

If you want to read our mission statement and see information about future plans and current projects, visit our “about” and “current projects” links. 

Sincerely,

Meredith Martin-Moats

P.S. As I mentioned above, we’ve already been doing research and community work for a while now, including the Seed and the Story column published every other week in the Post Dispatch and various discussions about folklife, sustainability, social justice found at the Boiled Down Juice Blog.  You can also  "like" the blog on facebook and follow us that way.  There will be a lot of crossover on these pages, but you can come to this page specifically for things related to our progress and goings on at the organization. 

Thanks again for stopping by!  

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