The Unity Wall

















The Unity Wall Project is a community based collaboritive public art initiative that celebrates and honors our connection to each other and to the earth. Unity can exist within diversity, and the contribution each of us makes is integral to the whole.

This public art project nurtures the collaborative spirit andl thrives on the participation of our diverse community. Members from all facets of the community are invited to participate by creating a bas-relief tile using moist clay. The finished tile will then be installed as part of the Unity Wall Project.

My vision for this project surfaced because of the intensifying cultural, social, and political divisions that I feel are taking place in our country and around the world. Each day through the media, we witness acts of intolerance, hatred, and racial and ethnic violence,deepening and widening our sense of alienation. I believe that it is important to address these issues while not losing sight of what is positive and to embrace our common ground.


......The tile making process begins with a dialogue about what it is that makes us feel personally connected to other people and to the earth. Specific questions are posed to enable the participants to develop their personal story that exemplifies this concept of connectedness. Participants will be encouraged to sketch their ideas which provide a vehicle to offer any guidance that may be needed to enable them to visually translate their concept onto their tile.

I then do a demonstration showing various sculpting techniques that can be utilized to create a bas-relief tile. Participants will learn how to attach the clay correctly and what the guidelines are to create a durable tile. I will also demonstrate how to add color using underglazes.While the participants create their tiles, one- on- one guidance will be provided so that each person feels confident in translating their story onto their clay tile. When the tiles are completed, each person will write their story with a quick sketch for identifying purposes. To see examples, go to "The Tiles" page.

Once the tiles are fired at my studio, they will be installed at an agreed upon location, interior or exterior. The vision for this project is that there could be pieces of the UnityWall all over Montclair, in schools, parks, community centers, and houses of worship.


We received two MFEE grants to work with over one hundred students at Montclair High as well as Mount Hebron. At the high school there is a permanant exterior installation of thirteen panels on the retaining wall in the courtyard behind the amphitheater. The tiles and their stories can be seen at "The Tiles" page. Pictures of the installation, as well as the individual panels can be viewed on the installations page.


At Mount Hebron Middle School, ninety six tiles have been temporarily installed on eight panels in the lobby of the school. These will become a part of a permanant wall when a location is made available.

The Montclair Foundation has granted $2,500 which will be used to allow fifty childrenfrom both Renassaince and Glenfield Middle schools to create a tile for a Unity Wall.

I have spoken with Pat Brechka and proposed that this project be included in the plans for the new community center at Clary Anderson Arena, which is in the early planning stage.

I have also done a presentation for the PTA presidents, The Heath and Wellness Initiative, as well as Montclair Dialog, who runs the Conversations on Race.

Barbara Azzoli is working on an informational film that should be completed by the fall.

I have begun speaking with the staff at the YMCA and hope to work within their after school and summer programs in the near future. We are also talking about the possibility of a Unity Wall at the new family center that is presently being built. For more informationgo to www.montclairymca.org

MFEE has kindly offered to accept tax deductable donations for workshops in the schools. Please go to the "Make Contribution" page for more information.



A large componant of this project is the collaboritive process. Each persons contribution thus far has been integral to the successful launching of The Unity Wall Project. Please go to the Facilitators/Liasons page to learn more about my background, the workshop facilitators, as well as a list of other people involved so far.

To learn more about how you can participate, please go to the "Participate" page

Elizabeth Jacobs

973 744-2708