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.
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
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
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"