UNITY demonstration set to visit East Lansing Farmer's Market Sunday
The East Lansing Farmer's Market will have a new attraction this Sunday called UNITY, an interactive public art project in Valley Court Park.
The project, taking place on Sunday at the farmer's market, will be led by the East Lansing Arts Commission and will be present from the time the market opens at 10 a.m. until it closes at 2 p.m. The project itself involves community members tying colorful yarn around different poles that list identifying traits on them with the goal being to show people that although all people are different, they are also united under the same identifiers.
Nancy Belmont, the creator of the project said that it's an interactive art initiative that aims to fight against the divisiveness that we see in the country today.
"UNITY is really to start changing the conversation from 'it's us and them' to 'we are actually one' and there's always common ground to connect us to another person in some way," Belmont said. "I wanted to change the rhetoric that I feel like people have bought into in our country and actually around the world that we're so divided. I think it's a false rhetoric and I think that if we were to actually, you know, talk to each other and look for that common ground that we'd be a lot closer than we think."
City Councilmember Aaron Stephens said that the goal of bringing this project to East Lansing is to show, "that there's a diverse group of thought, group of races, group of ideologies," in the East Lansing community.
"We are a beautiful inclusive community and that's what makes us great, our diversity makes us great," Stephens said. "Showing that, you know, no matter what your views are, no matter what religion, race, sexual orientation, any identifying factor you are, you are included and you are welcome in this community."
Parks, Recreation & Arts Assistant Director Wendy Longpre said a great aspect of this art initiative is that it focuses on cultural connectivity.
"What UNITY does is it helps us as individuals sort of define key things about ourselves and then also see how that relates to others within our community and how we are connected to others through those various identifiers," Longpre said.
Longpre said now is a great time for the city to put on the project because, "It seems to be a time where people are focusing on alienating each other," instead of working to come together as one community.
Longpre said the diversity of the people from the East Lansing community that attend the farmer's market on any given Sunday makes it a perfect location to host the project.
"It was kind of a ready made audience, so by doing UNITY at the farmer's market we know that there's going to be a broad range of people in one spot at one time that we can capture and hopefully encourage to participate," Longpre said.