Mathers Museum plans community star weaving event
By Sanya Ali
The Mathers Museum of World Cultures will continue to contribute to an international anti-violence campaign this Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The “MLK Day Weave-In” will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday in the museum, and Sarah Hatcher, head of programs and education for the museum, said the event ties well into the theme of the national holiday and the project.
“Dr. King’s quote, ‘Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,’ is part of the inspiration for the One Million Stars to End Violence project,” Hatcher said. “So it is especially fitting that his legacy is honored in this way.”
The event is part of a continued partnership with One Million Stars to End Violence — the project with the eventual goal of one million folded stars made by more than 150 partners worldwide — and the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation.
As part of her role, Hatcher coordinates the events and educational programs that take place throughout the museum, but she said this one is especially significant.
“As the museum’s educator, I’ve hosted three of these events here at the museum,” Hatcher said. “I believe that taking the time to talk about the project with each other has been another way for us to see the good that is in the world.”
One of the events related to this project was a lecture this fall by project founder Maryann Talia Pau, who started weaving stars after the rape and violent murder of a woman in her community.
From the initial idea sprung One Million Stars to End Violence, now an international project. Bloomington is one of the cities contributing stars to the project by weaving stars that Pau will collect and send for display at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“I think one of the things that was most striking about Maryann Talia Pau was her passion and her quiet yet powerful presence,” Hatcher said. “She believes deeply in this project and in the ways that simply making and talking together might elicit change.”
The weave-in taking place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day honoring another figure who advocated for nonviolence, will offer opportunities to contribute to the project and also bring about a sense of togetherness among attendees from all backgrounds, Hatcher said.
“Monday is an opportunity to take some time, build some community and weave some stars in honor of one of our country’s most influential people,” Hatcher said. “Last year we had IU students, Brownies, church groups and others all together — so it is a chance to meet others and make new friends as well.”
The museum has many goals that fall in line with programming such as the star weave-in, Hatcher said.
“One of the key aspects of our mission is to help people understand the underlying unity of culture as a human phenomenon,” Hatcher said. “One of the many things that people all over the world deeply want for themselves and for their families is peace, safety and security. This project speaks directly to those desires in a beautiful and culturally relevant way.”
Hatcher said the arts in general are an effective avenue for communication and that is why projects like this send a message and promote dialogue in the world at large.
“Both visual and performance arts allow for the spread of subtle or overt messages in entertaining and engaging ways,” Hatcher said. “There is a long tradition of using music, political cartoons, poetry, books and more to peacefully protest that which is wrong or to advocate for that which is necessary. In this instance messages of hope and peace are being passed on by the weaving of the stars themselves.”
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