College students, staff and community members walked back and forth in the dewy morning grass, stringing yarn between a central post and 32 others circled around it.
The interactive public art installation at Middle Georgia State University began Monday, and more than a hundred purple, black, silver and white strings have already been added.
For the school’s UNITY@MGA project, installations are being created on the quad by the library of the Macon campus and the quad by the cafeteria of the Cochran campus.
The community is invited to contribute to the project at these two locations between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The pieces will be on view until graduation in December.
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Chris Tsavatewa, director of the Office of Experiential Learning, said he found the idea for the project on YouTube and partnered with Jenia Bacote, director of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Office, to bring it to the two campuses.
Community members, faculty and staff members, alumni, and students each use a different color yarn. Participants tie the beginning of their yarn ball to the center post, wrap their yarn around the outer poles with signs they identify with, and finish back in the middle.
Labels include continent of origin; political party; sexual orientation; marital status; belief in a higher power; stance on gun control and marijuana legalization; home status (owner, renter or homeless); like or dislike of pets; interest in arts, sports and science; and living with a disability or illness.
At pole 32, people write their own identifiers on a board. On Tuesday morning, responses included oldest child, Native American and comic book geek. Freshman Ivy Sapp is going to Middle Georgia State so she can become a teacher and wrote “future educator.”
“We’re so much more alike than we are different,” Bacote said. “(It’s) beautiful that we’re all coexisting in this country. Amid things working to divide us, we have more in common than we think we do.”
The installations start social dialogues between people about diversity, equity and inclusion, Tsavatewa said. Participants see the strands that represent them and how the community is tied together.
“When you back up and you see how the fabric of our community is built on the fabric of our similarities and differences, it drives you to think about issues of connectedness, citizenship,” Tsavatewa said. “It’s very important in this time, particularly on college campuses where community is so important.”
The project is a great way to meet and connect with people and encourage them to be open minded, Sapp said. She said it was cool to see how many other people she matched up with.
“It just seemed like an interesting exercise to see ... how unique we all are and how life has different paths for all of us,” Ryan Tucker, an assistant director in the Office of Admissions, said after contributing to the project.