The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation will put on its annual Lotus Blossoms event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 10. The day will be filled with visual art, music, crafts, performances and educational activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the format of the event has shifted and most of it will take place virtually.
Videos and live-streamed events will be available to the public April 10 and will include performances, lectures and demonstrations. The only in-person event will be the kit pick-up Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Community Day. Bazaar Outreach Kits, which have instructions for multicultural activities and were made in collaboration with more than 25 community partners, will be available at the Lotus Firebay on April 10.
Kathleen Clark-Perez, the marketing and community engagement director for the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, said that even though it’s virtually focused, this year’s Lotus Blossoms provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity with pre-recorded events from artists and performers that will be streamable on April 10.
“I’m really excited because this is the first year that Lotus has ever recorded any of our Lotus Blossom Bazaar presenters,” Clark-Perez said. “I think this is so exciting because this means people who are not living in Bloomington can still see these wonderful presentations from local artisans.”
One of those local artisans is Sarah Hatcher, who works as head of Programs and Education at the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Hatcher created a crafting activity that revolves around making a Yoruba textile called Adire, a textile that is still made in Nigeria today.
“Textiles are something people make, decorate and use the world over, so having an appreciation of the variety of types of cloth and the ways it is decorated is useful,” Hatcher said.
Another participant in the event is artist LuAnne Holladay. She designed a craft called the Lotus Blossoms Bag Book that is a variation of what she normally does in a normal year at this event.
“The idea is that by making these simple designs on a humble material, you're participating in a kind of pattern-making and decoration technique that is thousands of years old,” Holladay said.
Because she cannot do this activity in-person this year, she altered the instructions for the craft so that people can use everyday household items for their creation.
“To translate this activity into something that would not require the special materials that I have in my studio, I thought of a way to use some very simple materials and processes to create an unusual version of a common object,” Holladay said.
Ultimately, Holladay hopes that her activity provides a learning experience, even if the in-person activities will be limited this year.
“I hope that people of all ages learn a little more about how you can use just about anything to create art,” Holladay said. “All you need to do is look around your house for stuff that you might think of as recyclable or even trash. Things like paper bags, old magazines, stickers, old postage stamps and so on.”
Even though the only in-person event will be the pick-up for these activity kits, Clark-Perez said any opportunity to see people is always welcome.
“The event has been reimagined so that people can still come and say hello from a distance and pick up a kit,” Clark-Perez said. “It's always wonderful to see people in a safe way.”
Clark-Perez said she still sees immense value in the mostly-virtual event.
“We get to still bring the multicultural music and arts events to children, teachers and community members, and we still get to continue to celebrate diversity,” Clark-Perez said.