At 62 years old, John has transformed a 200 square-foot community garden at Imagine Art into a lush, 2,000 square-foot oasis that boasts over 120 species of fruits and vegetables which supplement over 400 meals each month for those in need.
RecognizeGood presented the 52nd RecognizeGood® Legend award to John Macpherson of Imagine Art in a ceremony at Imagine Art (2830 Real Street, Austin, TX), beginning at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. As part of the award presentation, the Texas State Alumni Association received a $1,000 pay-it-forward donation from RecognizeGood in John’s name.
The fruits of John’s labors are literally tasted by dozens of local artists with disabilities each week. At 62 years old, John has transformed the 200 square-foot community garden at Imagine Art into a lush, 2,000 square-foot oasis that not only provides a peaceful setting for the artists served, but also boasts over 120 species of vegetables and fruits which supplement over 400 meals each month for those in need. Overcoming his own disability on his way to becoming an incredibly talented artist, John has been involved with Imagine Art for over 15 years. He’s shared his talent with organizations like Art From the Streets, taught local students and his fellow artists with disabilities, used his unique perspective to advocate for underprivileged artists, and was even honored as the Volunteer of the Year by then-governor Ann Richards as a result of his work as Freeze Shelter Coordinator with the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). John has accomplished many things and created many works of art, but perhaps his greatest “canvas” has been the Imagine Art community garden which feeds those primarily limited to disability income and food stamps. Occasionally leading groups of volunteers in the garden, its transformation is largely a result of John’s own sweat equity as he worked tirelessly – often upwards of 50 hours per week – without pay to break calcium deposits, mulch pathways, and nurture plants with his own hand tools until they eventually bore the okra, squash, lettuces, kale, onions, beets and other produce that now feed his hungry neighbors in need.
As a 2015 Legend, John is now eligible to participate in RecognizeGood’s Say Thanks Austin campaign, an annual event which presents the Austin area with a unique opportunity to say “thank you” to a group of remarkable individuals who contribute their time and talents to our community. The participant with the most Thank You votes receives a pay-it-forward donation of $10,000 to the nonprofit of their choice.