DENTON — What is a social justice action art piece? For Denton Mayor Abigail McNinch it is a step toward making a positive path forward. The brainchild of Denton Town Councilwoman Doncella Wilson and artist Josepha Price, the #weaveyourworriesaway campaign kick off event was held Friday, June 19, at the corner of Market and Third streets as part of what Caroline County Arts Council billed as a Juneteenth Celebration. The art project was the main attraction in festivities that included music, information from the YMCA and the health department, food and games for children. All were invited to the outdoor event to weave their fabric pieces and messages into the loom.
With partners, Jennifer Hodge, executive director of the Caroline County Arts Council, and John Schratwieser, executive director of Kent Cultural Alliance, Wilson and Price devised a way for people to join together for a common goal.
Wilson said she wanted to provide more opportunities for the community to come together — where people feel safe and it’s not just a white or Black activity, she said. The project was a perfect partnership with the Council of Arts, she said.
“We are battling two pandemics now — COVID and racism,” Wilson said.
She said she believes people can all come together. “We don’t live in silos ... and we don’t need to look nationally to take care of Caroline County, we can take care of Caroline County right here,” she said.
Price, an artist who owns Half Moon Studio in Easton, said she became acquainted with Wilson when she was with the Social Action Justice Committee. She volunteered at Friday’s event — the third one of the day for the tapestry project.
The project is being crafted using strips of fabric, woven in portable looms with messages handwritten by the community. Looms are being filled with messages from all nine counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Price said. The completed project will be displayed at the Dorchester Arts Center.
The choice of weaving as the medium to create the project was a natural one, Price said.
“Tapestry, fiber, webbing, woven — all words that represent how we want to weave ourselves together, putting thoughts, hopes, dreams and wishes (into the final piece),” she said.
Price said one way to precipitate change is through voting, but she also wants people to have an opportunity to gather and have conversations. This project is one way for that to be accomplished.
Hodge sees the art piece as a way to heal. In times of great pain it is often difficult to verbalize that pain, but art can be a way to express pain and emerge healed. “Our world needs to emerge better,” said Hodge, who is hopeful that from the pain the nation is feeling in this moment can come one voice for justice.
Sherone Lewis of Federalsburg took a few minutes to weave a strip of cloth onto the loom in Denton. Her message included the names of her parents and her children, the word love, a scripture and the words, Black Lives Matter.
Tamia Thomas, 8, attended the celebration with her aunt Terenda Thomas of Denton. Tamia wrote, “Black Lives Matter.” Her aunt’s message: “God Loves Everybody.”
Some of the other messages included: “Love Wins,” “We All Bleed the Same,” “Stand Together in Love,” “Love Over Hate Changes Hearts and Minds and Creates Opportunity ...,” “Make This a Good Moment for Yourself and Someone Else,” “We Are Stronger Together,” Always Remember Anton Black,” and “Love With the Love of Christ.”