Community Invited to Participate in Art Project for Valley Court Park

Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:31 am
By: 
Jessy Gregg

Thanks to a group of MSU students from the Citizen Scholars Program, the chain-link fence behind the tennis courts in Valley Court Park will soon be the site of a colorful fiber art installation. The student designers are inviting members of the East Lansing community to participate in the creation of the artwork, which is focused on sexual abuse and recovery.

Students Isabel Humphrey-Phillips and Allison Steffen have developed the concept for this multi-media installation, a work called “Reweaving our Social Fabric: Fiber Installation to Promote Sexual Assault Awareness and Healing” with the support of faculty members Teresa Dunn and Sandra Logan.

The students described their goals for the interactive artwork in their project proposal, saying “As multiple threads woven together lend strength where a single thread is fragile, coming together amplifies women’s voices, enabling us to speak out to challenge abuse and oppression not only in global contexts but here in our own community and university.”

The proposal continues, “We are also aware that not only women are subject to such conditions, but many others experience similar marginalization, silencing, and invisibility. This project creates a visible forum for dialogue about the cycles of abuses, exclusions, recovery, and healing.”

The project will incorporate two-inch-wide fabric strips which can be made of any material, knitted, woven, and even non-fabric. These strips will be woven into the chain link fence to create an overall pattern which will look solid from a distance but will reveal messages from community members when viewed up close.

It will remain on display through the summer and early fall, and the artists will revisit the work occasionally to add new pieces and make repairs as needed.

Those interested in participating in the project are invited to attend a community engagement session at MSU’s Library this Friday, April 13, from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

If you are unable to attend but would still like to participate in the project, you can bring your contributions to Valley Court Park on April 21 between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., when the students will be installing their artwork. Collection bins for contributions will also be available at Woven Art (325 Grove St., East Lansing), the East Lansing Public Library, and at the MSU Main Library.

The Citizen Scholars Program is a relatively new program at MSU, started in 2016. It is aimed at engaging students in broader communities for positive social change.

“Our fundamental objective is to foster the next generation of engaged citizens, who will dedicate their lives to positive social change through increased equity, inclusion, and justice,” Program Director Sandra Logan told ELi via email.

Not all student projects are as locally focused as this one, but there is at least one more student-driven art installation planned for the East Lansing area.

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