Lia Rivamonte, Artist-in-Residence Team
in the dark kitchen
only the stainless steel
holds the moon
On the sidewalk in front of my house I am invited to see the moon on the stainless steel surfaces in the dark of my kitchen. I do not have a stainless steel sink; the moon does not enter my kitchen through the window above it. No matter, I am grateful to have this invitation impressed into the concrete that evokes such delight. I hope that all who pass my house will look down and notice, read the words, and experience the wonder of the conjured image.
There is much to admire in these four simple lines by the writer, @grumbles_mccoy, and credit must be given to Marcus Young, Unity’s current artist-in-residence, who initiated the project, “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks.” It is Marcus who envisioned the sidewalks of St. Paul as pages in a book of wildly diverse poems and who worked with the city’s sidewalk maintenance program to make it happen.
What crosses your mind as you glimpse a pleasant looking man dressed in flowing robes walking calmly in silence through the galleries of the large museum you are visiting? Or, perhaps you’re in a hurry, making your way to the bus stop. In the corner of your eye you catch a person dancing in an open space on the other side of the street. You stop to watch. Neither person asks you for anything yet you are drawn in. Each appears to be fully absorbed, moving through the space with intention. Each encounter throws you off, disrupts your routine in a subtle, but insistent way.
“Marcus Young brings an openness, curiosity and deep listening to his approach working within government agencies,” says Jessica Oh, Highway Sponsorship Director with MnDOT’s Office of Land Management where Marcus is serving as the Community Vitality Fellow. “He is interested in how art can create a more equitable world, both representational and lived, and his artistic practice considers those that are not at the table…”
Marcus’s work is rooted in curiosity. It is playful and nonthreatening, and invites questions. Marcus was gently queried by patrons at MiA, during his 10-day live-in residency titled, “With Nothing To Give I Give Myself.” He meditated, cleaned the chrome framework at the museum’s entrance, and walked through the corridors in flowing robes. Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you doing it? People asked.
One of the truly wonderful things about Marcus’ art practice is how it seems to exist in the world with no agenda other than to spark curiosity. Those who are open to receiving it will experience whatever they are ripe for at that moment of encounter.
His work challenges us, if we are willing, to imagine the possibilities, to begin honing a practice of seeing one another with no agenda, without prejudgment. Can we let curiosity point the way?
CLICK HERE for information about Marcus' "Don't You Feel It Too?" program.
Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Rev. Lara Cowtan, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Lia Rivamonte and Angela Wilcox.