Detroit's Leaf and Blossom asks for community help finishing children's butterfly and art garden

"It is a work in progress - we've been working on this since the early summer," said Maggie Mazzara.

Mazzara is one of the owners and artists at Leaf and Blossom on Kercheval and Alter on the city's east side. They are turning the abandoned lot behind their gift shop into a children's butterfly and art garden - with donations from the community.

There's mulch and flowers and art - re-used, or reclaimed - it's full of whimsy like the fairy statue that was a Greek goddess - a colorful toadstool that was dull and destined for the landfill.

"We hope that this will be place - a gathering point so that people can come and read to their children," she said.

It is part of the revitalization efforts in Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood - bordering Grosse Pointe Park where three women artists opened Leaf and Blossom in December during the pandemic. The shop showcases and sells their work as well as the work of fellow area artists.  rehabbing this space in a building that's more than 100 years old. They love to rehab and re-purpose.

"We believe in taking things out from the garbage and recycling and making them into beautiful things," said Lillian Li.

Like a newly painted patriotic bicycle and an old Victorian pipe organ that Lillian li turned into a bar. They also offer art classes for kids and adults.

Business has been good - then came the summer rains and flooding.

"We lost $100,000 of inventory - we had just been open six or seven months and it was a very hard hit," she said.

But Lillian says - the children's garden they had been working on, was still standing.

"This garden looked better than anything on this whole entire block," Lillian said. "I said - okay - you're still here so we'll continue."

This means more mulch and weeding and flowers and paint - that will transform the shipping container into an art project - books for the little library - soon to be a place for kids, and others to find a safe space for a story and a smile.

For the owners of Leaf and Blossom, this really is about community - which is why they want everyone to come out on Saturday and help with the garden, the painting - the murals to create a space for the children in this neighborhood.

"We just want to show everyone that stuff is happening - there is a re-birth here and beauty can be found here as well," said Victoria Li.

"We feel that being part of this community has been a great blessing and as much as they've given to us in supporting our little store - we feel that we also have to give that back," Lillian said.

And you can help Saturday at 11 a.m. at the children's butterfly and art garden behind Leaf and Blossom at Kercheval and alter on Detroit's east side.

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