Typically, a movement associated with a highly emotional event will often give birth to motivating and creative campaigns for change. The intent, of course, is to transform the perception of an individual or a community. This certainly is the goal of one project that involves the entire Eastern Shore.
Unlike other projects of this magnitude, the planning and execution have come together within a relatively short time. It happened right after the racial injustice rally in Easton on May 30th. Like other calls for action, it started with a broad and general idea. Town of Denton Councilwoman and founder of Minary’s Dream Alliance, Inc., Doncella Wilson knew it was essential to keep the momentum going on and wanted a visible reminder that every community and every individual can be part of the solution for change. She envisioned a social action art exhibit of sorts, community assembled, something that would last well after the protest signs were put away.
Wilson asked for suggestions from Josepha Price, artist, activist, and owner of Half Moon Studio in Easton. The request reminded Price of something she had seen elsewhere: a multi-county tapestry weaving project. She recommended setting up a large loom. People would be encouraged to come and, using either provided fabric or ones they bought from home, write their thought, hopes, wishes, and worries and weave them into the tapestry. It would represent the healing that could start to happen if people could see their similarities.
Wilson contacted John Schratwieser, the Director of the Kent Cultural Alliance and Jennifer Hodge, with the Caroline County Arts Council (of which Wilson is also a Board Member). Both agreed to reach out to the Arts Councils on the Eastern Shore and invite them to take part in the “A Tapestry for Change” Art Project. All nine counties agreed.
Five looms, roughly 5’x8′, have been built. Each loom will either have a ‘permanent’ spot in the community or will be moved to various locations, including local non-profit’s, churches, and other events throughout the counties to allow the maximum number of people to participate.
Individual completed designs will be intertwined to create one large tapestry, which will be unveiled in a future ceremony. Says Price that it will feature pictures taken of those hearts and hands that contributed to the weaving. “Art,” she said, “has an important place in social justice and has an even greater impact when it isn’t just viewed, but created together.”
Wilson hopes the tapestry will be used as a teaching tool for schools. “It’s a starting point to build lessons around unity, interconnectedness, and cohesiveness in communities. It’s also a connection to our youth and our elders, no matter what race, to see what we can do when we come together.”
For Price, this project gives her the chance to fulfill a more profound yearning that neither her art nor her studio fully satisfied. “I have always felt that my talent is better served for a greater, common good. The art that I would love to do, which I never seem to find time for, is something that has a social or political statement, that makes you think about where you fit in within your community. It starts really small, but then, like this tapestry, fits into a giant blanket that we’re all part of.”
Additional information can be found on Facebook at the Eastern Shore Community Art Project
T0 participate in the Tapestry project and celebrate Juneteenth, come to:
Easton, 4:30 at the BAAM march.
Denton, 6-8 at the corner of Market and 3rd St. The event, will be held at the corner of Market and 3rd Street, will feature music and will be streamed live.
Cambridge, 2-4 Dorchester Center for the Arts.
Tomorrow, it will be available in Chestertown at 10 am in Fountain Park, where the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice and the Kent Cultural Alliance are sponsoring “It is Time for Change” rally. Elected officials, music and a spoken word performance are planned. A scheduled caravan rally to Annapolis has been postponed due to possible weather issues.
Attendees are asked to bring fabric for the tapestry and wear masks and maintain social distancing.