Photo: Tim RandBeginning this fall, Arts at the Palace will be working with naturalist Morgan Elmore and artist Tim Rand to create a native pollinator garden in the parking lot adjacent to the Palace Theater, which is owned by the Hamilton Initiative.

The 30′ x 6′ garden will be certified by the National Wildlife Federation and will include native plant communities that sustain native insects and birds.

A public, outdoor mural will be created on the side of the Palace Theater building within the garden space.

The garden is a year-long project that will include a site-specific native plant garden design and installation, site-specific mural design and installation, pop-up mini-gallery, educational activities, and community engagement opportunities. Arts at the Palace will maintain a project web page, where community members can follow the progress of the project and learn about opportunities to participate.

About Morgan Elmore

Photo: Morgan Elmore

Morgan is a native plant enthusiast and recent transplant to Hamilton. She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in Environmental Studies and Geology. She spent many years building digitized collections of rare books for university libraries before launching her native plant landscaping business. Now Morgan works with nonprofits and home owners to create functional landscapes that nourish biodiversity, invite exploration, and kindle a sense of place using native plants. She works with, rather than in opposition to, ecological principles to amplify the functionality of outdoor spaces while easing the burden of caring for them. Morgan finds great pleasure in noticing small things about her environment; It is the things that happen in the garden rather than the garden itself which fuel her passion for gardening with natives. Morgan is a PA certified tree tender, NYS master composter and mama to Lena (age 12) and Hazel (age 9). Her husband Paul teaches in the Colgate University Geology department.

About Tim Rand

Photo: Tim Rand

Rand started the Life Is Sweet project in March 2020 with a painting of a honey bee, an homage to nature’s essential worker and all those who were making sacrifices for the greater good during a worldwide pandemic. The series quickly grew, with oil paintings and murals of pollinators cropping up both in the studio and all over Central New York in the coming months. What started as a way to connect with family, painting a mural seen through the kitchen window for his parents and 100 year old grandmother, led to murals on West Park Row in Clinton and a larger piece at the Utica Zoo. “To me, this pandemic is all about how we can come together and help out our neighbors and community as a whole when times are tough.” Rand recently completed a successful fundraising raffle as part of the Life Is Sweet project, raising over $200 for the Country Pantry.

Tim opened TRand Art Studio & Gallery in 2011 with the mission of creating art in his hometown of Clinton and connecting with the community through art. He has work in private collections across the country, with public works at the Adirondack Bank Center (Utica), Clinton Pottery (Clinton), and New England College (Henniker, NH). Studio visits at TRand Art Studio & Gallery at 84 Utica Street in Clinton are encouraged any time by making an appointment. You can contact Tim at (315) 527-4774 or via email at and learn more about his work at

Photo credits: Tim Rand and Morgan Elmore. All rights reserved.

The program is being made possible in part by a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation.