Creating unity

An interactive public artwork is taking shape in front  of Madeleine Clark Wallace Library with the participation of staff, faculty and students.

Called the Unity Project, the artwork, based on a concept developed by artist Nancy Belmont, is a response to the divisive nature defining the current U.S. political climate, said Assistant Professor of Art Kelly Goff in announcing the effort. “Nancy’s hope for the project is to ‘raise consciousness about the labels we give ourselves and others and explore how those labels both support and limit building interconnected, interesting communities.'”

The foundation for the installation is created by 32 vertical posts arranged in a circle in front of the library with one post in the middle. Each post is labeled with an identifier such as “I am a parent,” “I speak English as a second language,” and “I identify as LGBTQ.”

Members of the community are invited to help create the artwork by tying a length of colorful yarn first to the center post and then around any posts with which they identify. To help spread the word, participants are asked to cut a small piece of yarn to tie around a wrist, ankle, or bag handle as a symbol of participation. Yarn and lists of the posts will be stored on the window sill of the Balfour Hood Cafe.

“Over time, our lines of yarn will intertwine, creating a web-like canopy of interconnectedness,” Professor Goff said. From the Unity Project website: “In the end, we will see that we are all connected by something, and it’s our diversity that builds a strong and vibrant community.”