Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Weaving the Community Together

Posted 09/19/2016 by Lucy Peterson

photo courtesy of The Unity Project

Thomas Jefferson High School is launching a new public and interactive art project to demonstrate that we are more united than we are divided.

The UNITY project is a nationwide public art exhibit that demonstrates how individuals are all unique, but connected by a common thread. The interactive art exhibit was installed in the front of Thomas Jefferson for the students and surrounding community to experience in order to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals and to bring people together.

The art exhibit consists of 32 poles in a circular arrangement labeled with different identifiers, such as “I am a survivor,” “I love sports,” and “I am a student.” Each participant ties yarn to the poles with which they identify, ending with a large overhanging canopy of yarn as more choose to participate. As the canopy begins to form overhead of the participants, it becomes more apparent that everyone is connected by something, showing that all individuals are unique but can all be connected and united with one another. TJ parent and alumni Spring Hericks, who organized the event to occur at TJ, said, “Community building has been a prominent theme for TJ as we reconnect and deepen ties with the vibrant community around us. This project gives us the opportunity to visually celebrate our diversity–and that of Denver–and remind us that each of us is greater than and connected beyond the labels with which we identify.”

Although the UNITY project is installed on TJ grounds, it is open to any member of the community who wishes to participate. The ultimate goal of UNITY is to revive optimism and camaraderie among individuals, therefore opening the project to the community as a whole will allow for more bonding between participants, and will be a better example of how we are more united than divided. Principal Mike Christoff said, “I think that the UNITY project shows that we’re committed, not only to students’ voices but also to reaching out to our community to provide more opportunities for our kids and community.”

The installation of the poles took place on Sunday, September 18th, and the exhibit will kick off starting September 19th, open to the public until September 29th. Students can come outside of school hours to participate, however they will have opportunities to go out with classes and add to the exhibit as well. Students who are interested in obtaining community service hours will get a chance to volunteer and help run the UNITY art exhibit. UNITY founder Nancy Belmont created this project to prompt unitive leadership through renewing a sense of respectfulness with the upcoming November 2016 election and beyond, and bringing this project to TJ will further tie the students together and bring the community as a whole closer together.