HISTORIC TRIANGLE — Turquoise-painted tables are springing up like the flowers of the season, but what are they for?
The LEAD Greater Williamsburg Class of 2023 — the “Resilient Class” — is working to make positive change and to unite the greater Williamsburg community by building Turquoise Tables, places where individuals and groups can meet in person to share a cup of coffee, a meal, stories and conversation.
LEAD Greater Williamsburg describes itself as a “community immersion program providing opportunities for recognized and emergent leaders to collaborate on issues of importance to the region.”
According to LEAD, the goal of the project is to bring back a sense of “community,” to break down the barriers that set us apart, and create new opportunities for personal interactions.
“We started looking at ways we could provide resources for community members and we stumbled across this turquoise table project,” Amy Ritchie, a member of LEAD explained.
The Turquoise Table Project started with a woman in Texas who put a table in her front yard and invited her neighbors to join her. Turquoise Tables can now be found in communities across the country.
“The turquoise color is inviting and recognizable. So we are putting table around the community that anyone can use to hold a meeting or to have a book club or to get together with their friends and neighbors to form relationships and be face to face again,” Ritchie added. “This is a place where people can come together face to face and create new relationships and strengthen old ones.”
Currently three tables have been dedicated. The tables are located at the Virginia Beer Company, James City County Library in Toano, and the Yorktown Beach Picnic area.
The tables are built using Evolve Poly Lumber for low maintenance and durability. They were purchased with the assistance of sponsors and built by members of the LEAD Greater Williamsburg Class of 2023.
Plans are to place five more tables during the month of April at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, Long & Foster Realty, Liz Moore & Associates, Williamsburg Regional Library (pending), and the Busch Gardens Administration Building.
Each table also has a QR code for the Present at the Table Facebook page. On the page, there is a list of organizations that provide resources for members of the community.
There is also a partnership with Sherwin-Williams, to provide a free gallon of paint or stain for the first 25 people who email Present at the Table about setting up a Turquoise Table.
“Anybody can do it. So if there is a neighborhood that has a picnic table, or if someone has a picnic table and wants to put it in their front yard to invite their neighbors over, they can get a free gallon of paint from Sherwin-Williams that is turquoise colored,” Ritchie explained.