The Butterflyy Garden & Black Doll Museum
My name is Sandra Epps I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. After 3 near-death experiences due to lupus, I decided to turn that negative into a positive. In 2005, I established Sandy’s Land WHERE WE PARTY With A PURPOSE!
We host art parties and the Detroit Doll Show which is the largest black doll show of its kind. Our events and programs are geared toward encouraging WOMEN and GIRLS to “LOVE the SKIN THEY’RE IN!” The mission of the Detroit Doll Show is to celebrate history, culture, self-love and diversity with the promotion of Dolls of Color.
The decision was made to establish The Butterflyy Garden in District 1 because Brightmoor has a wonderful community of neighbors and the space is large enough to expand on the block of land, and the soil is rich for growing plants and vegetables. I had the soil tested through Keep Growing Detroit in September 2022.
The goal is to help the environment and beautify the community and become a certified way-station for Monarch Butterflies. This would allocate a safe space for Butterflies to eat and lay their eggs in a pesticide-free habitat. As well as assist the Monarch with their fall annual Migration of 2,500 - mile trek south where the butterfly lives in hibernation for six to eight months. Then, in February or March, the entire cycle starts all over again. Research shows that over the last 20 years there has been an 80% decrease in the butterfly population. Butterflies are now being characterized as quasi-extinct. Their natural habits are being destroyed to accommodate new development along with pesticides and climate change.
Without pollinators, humans will no longer exist. “Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. That’s one out of every three bites of food you eat.” Statistics show that the butterfly populations are declining at an estimated rate of 1.6% per year. The report looks at more than 450 butterfly species, including the western monarch, whose latest population count revealed a 99.9% decline since the 1980s according to Science Daily.
The Butterflyy Garden and Black Doll Museum will be a whimsical theme that includes interactive NATURE FUN FACTS on free-standing signage, a small pond with koi fish, a gazebo, a rock path of hope (for people who succumb to lupus or to celebrate a love one or to acknowledge donors). There will be ornate seating areas for reading, relaxing and enjoying the outdoor space. To sustain the space we will sell flowers and vegetables, host small business pop-ups, and host various gardening classes and doll workshops for self-esteem building.
Our fundraising goal is $50,000 to kick start the project with the purchase: of 11 lots, permits, a shed, lay foundation for the shed, fresh dirt, brick pavers, rocks, land survey, till the land, soil testing, plants, water irrigation system with two 250 tank/totes and obtain shipping containers for structure build-out.
Other items needed: fencing, compact tractor, three to four custom butterfly benches, raised garden bed kits, Victorian gazebo, metal trellis, pavilion, solar panels, solar lights, contractors (to build-out shipping containers and shelving for BLACK DOLLS) and landscapers (to install pond and waterfall). We would like to purchase the land in 2023 and break ground in the Spring of 2023.
Why Now? – my business platform is based on self-care, however, I find it critical to provide fun and empowering resources for our community due to the struggles everyone has and continues to deal with since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Learning to grow food has become essential as grocery prices have increased. Discovering the benefits of being in nature as it reduces feelings of stress or anger, improves mood; boosts confidence and self-esteem, aids in being more active, connects people with their local community, it's a spontaneous relaxor and improves physical health.
In addition, the Black Doll Museum will be a fun teachable resource for black history and culture for all who visit.
Acquiring land for Detroit Land Bank Authority in a desolate area allows us to contribute to providing unique, fun and empowering resources to the growth and positivity inside the City of Detroit.
About Me – I am an author and professional face and body painter with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Major in Art from Wayne State University. I’ve been in business for 15 years. I established SHE’S Empowered (Sisters Helping Encourage Sisters) from 2010 – 2018 as we hosted the Women’s Empowerment Conference, Butterfly Bash. The mission was to encourage women to live healthy in mind, body and spirit, and we advocated lupus awareness. The Butterfly logo represents the butterfly rash that appears on a lupus patient’s face when experiencing a flare-up and it’s symbolic of transformation, peace, prosperity, hope and rebirth. And this is what the project will bring to the City of Detroit.
The Detroit Doll Show was established in 2011 – present to encourage women and girls to “Love the Skin They’re In!” It’s an annual event that provides entertainment and empowerment with workshops, arts & crafts, a doll look-a-like contest, DJ (music), a panel discussion, a photo doll box, speakers, a doll legacy award, spoken word artists, children authors with positive black characters and black doll makers and manufactures from around the globe. We have been featured in Black Enterprise, America Black Web, The Detroit News & Free Press, American Black Journal, Live in the D on WDIV, FOX 2 on The NOON, BLAC Magazine, RollingOut Magazine, Michigan Chronicle, Mix 92.3 with Deborah Smith Pollard and the Downtown Monitor just to name a few.
The Butterflyy Garden will provide Detroit Residents and Visitors access to a serene space of amusement that's healthy for the mind, body and spirit.
Having the support of my community and people from around the globe will reinforce my belief that GOOD PEOPLE DO HELP, GOOD PEOPLE! And it will be my pleasure to make sure that every person who visits The Butterflyy Garden or supports us will feel like family.
Thank You for your contribution!
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