Last January, theCO hosted an event called “New Year, New Ideas” as an effort to spread the word some incredible community efforts that were making headway in 2017. One year later, we are celebrating some major progress in these projects and letting you know how you can best support them in 2018.
The Phoenix father looked down on his lifeless garden and shed three tears: a tear of sorrow, a tear of love, and a tear of hope. His three tears penetrated deep down into the very heart of the earth and caused a wilderness to bloom.
When Ryan Pflasterer’s daughter, Addison, was nine years old, the two of them began creating the story of a Phoenix father and prodigal daughter that took place in kingdom called Terrinopolis. The king plants seeds for a magical garden, which grows as he awaits the return of his princess.
Now, that garden is taking root in Jackson.
Landon Preston and Pflasterer are heading up a project to build a playscape downtown that will combine art, creation, play, and community in an area behind the AMP.
While he and his daughter were crafting their story, Pflasterer began imagining a real, multidimensional fantasy world.
“I envisioned a whimsical mixture of children’s playground, sculpture garden, and mythological pavilion, all made out of unique and found objects and materials that could serve to fuel our imaginations for God’s great artistry and making all things new . . . seen through the eyes of a child but experienced by the young and the old alike,” he said.
Pflasterer first approached Preston with the idea when the two ran into each other during a neighborhood walk.
“What drew my attention was this is the kind of place I was wishing I could be instead of pushing a stroller,” Preston said. “This is the kind of place I wish I could be, playing with my kids. . . . What drew me to this was just the idea of bringing something like this to life.”
The two fathers began to discuss how to bring the fantasy kingdom into reality.
“Two things that are core to this idea are the ideas of beauty and recreation,” Preston said. “We wanted it to be a beautiful place that welcomes people of all backgrounds from all over our community.”
They wanted to incorporate elements of beauty, function, and story, as well as encourage culture in surrounding neighborhoods through a narrative that depicts universal themes, such as exile, homecoming, and true fatherhood. They invented an “open mythology” that will allow both children and adults to act like characters from the Terrinopolis story.
“At the core of what we want to do is foster childlike wonder,” Pflasterer said. “One of the best ways to do that is through a story, and especially a story where you are a character.”
The playscape will consist of three elements: the entrance (or “Moon Gate”), grottos, and three teardrop “lookout pods” that the father used to watch for the return of his daughter.
The City Museum in St. Louis has agreed to take on the project, and Preston is optimistic that construction will start sometime this year.
In a survey of more than 500 people, many with children, more than half said that it had been over a year since they had been to a park. The number one reason people said they came to downtown Jackson was to eat. The Terrinopolis Foundation hopes to change this statistic.
“Two words that kept coming up again and again [in the survey] were ‘exploration’ and ‘wonder,’” Preston said. “So we’re realizing that there’s interest in our town for a place for people of different backgrounds to gather . . . but they wanted something that was otherworldly. And that’s exactly what Ryan and his daughter Addie had been dreaming of together.”
For more information on the Terrinopolis Foundation, visit their website at terrinopolis.com.