Art Across the Academy, the Community Service Organization, and Weaver’s Way collaborated on a project—The Community Fridge—to provide a decorated community refrigerator that will provide food for those in need in the area. The idea is that The Community Fridge, located at Weaver’s Way in Ambler, will nourish the body (through food) and the soul and heart (through art).
The community-wide project was co-led by Honors sculpture student Cat Shuron ’22. Shuron approached Upper School faculty members during the winter with the idea of bringing a community fridge to Ambler. Community fridges are refrigerators that are placed in various areas for people to come and get food when they are hungry; they have become vitally important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I came up with this idea when I was driving in Germantown and we noticed a decorated fridge,” said Shuron. “I then did some more research and followed the @germantowncommunityfridge on Instagram. I reached out to the owner of the account and she gave me advice in creating GAs own fridge. It was very important for me to pursue the creation of GA's own community fridge because hunger in our community goes unnoticed and someone needed to bring light to the situation.”
Shuron, with the help of CSO faculty leaders, picked some local organizations to ask if they would be interested in creating a community fridge that was also a sculptural work of art.
“The combination of food and art is a powerful act of creative activism,” said Upper School Art Teacher Sara Krupnick-Ritz, who also co-leads Art Across the Academy with Lower School Art Department Coordinator Jess Kilo. “Cat told me she had seen community fridges in Philly, but not close to home. She said that people think hunger is somewhere else, not close to them, but that's not true and she asked if we would we be able to help her bring a community fridge to Ambler—our neighborhood. We talked about the history of art as a change maker. We talked about how art can be activism and we talked about how art literally nourishes individuals when they are hungry for hope, love, change etc... we talked about a community fridge as a sculptural work of art. A piece that would deliver actual food and hope and love to our community from our community”
Weaver’s Way in Ambler agreed to power the refrigerator while the Upper School CSO will restock it and clean it twice a month during the school year.
“The first step we had to do to make the fridge a reality was contact different townships and businesses to see if they would house the fridge on their properties,” said Shuron. “I got many no's, but I finally got a yes from Weaver's Way. We then had to find the funds for the fridge and Art Across the Academy, fortunately, provided the fridge. CSO and Art Across the Academy collaborated on the community fridge. In the future, CSO will have a committee to make sure the fridge is cleaned and stocked while Art Across the Academy will help the fridge stay so beautifully decorated.”
The functional fridge sculpture is covered with more than 1,000 GA community created magnets and moved to Weaver’s Way during Mother’s Day weekend.
“It was amazing to see the messages and the careful creation of the magnets,” said Krupnick-Ritz. “The kids got it. They made magnets for the refrigerators of our neighbors who might need a message of hope, love, laughter and, in doing so, they felt a boost themselves. It's so critical to learn to think outside of ourselves and to see how we can be of service in so many ways in our community."
“It’s a community project and what is key is that we’re all working together,” said Upper School Spanish Teacher Yvette Marquez-Pribitkin, who leads the Upper School CSO along with Upper School Spanish Teacher Carlos Chubb. "Cat had a vision. She saw that there was a need, and she followed through."
Special shout out to Tech Theatre Director Paul Moffitt, who built the entire shelter in which the fridge now lives.
“It was so surreal seeing the fridge installed at Weavers Way because we worked on logistics and the creation of the fridge for so long that I was eager to see it set up,” said Shuron. “I hope it truly brings light to the fight against hunger in our community and allows people to acknowledge this issue.
Follow The Community Fridge on Instagram @amblercommunityfridge.