About the Project
It all began with a knock on the door of the Art Impact Project space in Lake Bluff by Gretchen Seymour, a local resident and avid knitter, to inquire how she could share her passion to incorporate knitting as another tool for our supportive art programming.
The founder of Art Impact Project, Vickie, had long desired to create a community art installation. Art Impact Project and The Art Center Highland Park have been partnering and facilitating monthly workshops addressing the trauma the community has experienced since the shooting, therefore this felt like a natural way to mesh the concept into action. Our Art Impact Project team approached the City of Highland Park to propose this special fiber art, or “yarn storming” project as a gift from surrounding communities. The plan was to reach out to all communities and groups for which Art Impact Project offers programming for, to come together to “embrace” Highland Park in support of the upcoming anniversary of the shooting. We were sure to consider the trauma the community suffered and by respectfully sharing our ideas and asking for permission, the City Manager felt very positive about the concept and put us in touch with the Park District of Highland Park, thus completing the trifecta and forming this wonderful collaboration.
Along with Gretchen, our Art Impact Project team, including two of our Art Advocates – Beth McKenna and Beth Schrag, who headed up a similar project in Libertyville, The Art Center, and the Park Department Highland Park, we set forth on creating Knitting Communities Together.
We all spread the word, offering “gatherings” to knit or crochet together – Monday nights in Highland Park at the Park District West Ridge Center and Wednesday nights at the Art Impact Project courtyard in Lake Bluff. This is where the magic of being connected happened. Knitting groups from all over Lake County and beyond became involved. In addition to the gatherings, Roberti Community House, Green Oaks Senior Living and many other individuals got busy creating bright strips and squares of yarn. Our groups were overflowing with lovely people from all communities knitting together to create this project of warmth and healing. Each knitting and assembly session as well as the day of installation “Coloring Day”, were all buzzing with participants who knew that they were a part of something special.
Many Highland Park residents were involved in Knitting Communities Together and have indicated what a healing process the project has been for them. Others have stated that it has brought them out of isolation and the feelings of deep loneliness. New friendships have formed and a true sense of community developed – all beginning with a thread and knit together with compassion and love.
Please enjoy the art/yarn installation in “the grove” of Sunset Woods Park where it will remain on display through Labor Day. Take note of the large old Oaks and other beautiful variety of trees that the park has to offer. Feel free to contact the Park Department if you want to learn more: www.pdhp.org
Be sure to visit The Art Center Highland Park often, as they are always welcoming with their meaningful art exhibits, classes and events that truly embrace community. www.theartcenterhp.org
Lastly, please reach out to Art Impact Project with any questions about this project or the work that we do for mental and emotional wellness. Everyone is welcome to attend our monthly workshops at TAC the last Monday of each month at 6:00 pm. It is a great opportunity to engage in community while creating a different supportive project in a small group setting.
For more information, contact Art Impact Project Art Advocate Gretchen Seymour: firstname.lastname@example.org.