Campus community invited to create mural, build Unity Tree on Unity Day

September 19, 2023
By: Bellalorraine Carey-Hicks

Unity Day 2023 will feature a first-of-its kind, hands-on arts experience open to all students, faculty, and staff. Together, the campus community will create a charcoal Unity Day mural and build a Unity Tree that together will reflect individual unique identities and the campus community’s aspirations for diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

The day-long arts event Tuesday, Sept. 26 will happen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in two locations: mural making inside the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery and tree building on the lawn between the Ghosh Building and Wellness Center (with a rain location inside the Student Center).

“We’re hoping to inspire folks to bring their most creative energy to the community,” said organizer Omarthan Clarke, a professional artist and the university’s assistant director for Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. “We want to establish a space that fosters inspiration, togetherness, and collaboration. Not only are these values key in creative spaces, they align with what the Unity Day initiative is all about—inclusivity, social justice, and belonging. This all requires creative approaches to achievement.”

Worcester State arts students will be on hand throughout the day to facilitate the experience. At both art stations, art supplies will be provided as well as prompts to encourage creativity, free thought, and conversation. Organizers say participants should simply bring their creativity, sense of play, and unique identity.

The mural will occupy one wall in the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery and will be designed with charcoal. Mural makers will also have the opportunity to view the gallery’s current exhibit, Open Doors, an LGBTQIA+ Pride show featuring the works of 31 regional artists—including two students—as part of Worcester Pride month.

For Gallery Director Stacey Parker, an art professor in Visual and Performing Arts, organizing the Unity Day mural in the gallery presented a unique opportunity to collaborate and foster community on campus.

“Art is a really good teaching tool,” said Parker. “And art is a great tool to bring people together, to get them to connect in a way that just sitting down and talking with other people doesn’t allow.”

Unity Day is a day-long celebration of unique identities and experiences, with events curated to support 10 campus goals, established by a university-wide Unity Day Committee. Among them is a goal to encourage individuals to discover new knowledge about themselves, others and their university, and also to extend themselves to others in ways that contribute to building a collective sense of belonging for people of all identities on campus.

Visit the Unity Day website for the full calendar of events.

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