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The fabric of our community

An interactive art exhibit popping up on campus invites everyone to spin a yarn about how HSI benefits us all.

By Cory Phare

April 26, 2017

We already know Roadrunners are dynamic individuals with many intersecting identities and personal characteristics. And soon, an interactive art installation will invite passersby to take part in a colorful visualization of this.

The exhibit is part of MSU Denver’s initiative to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), titled “We Are HSI.”

“The art installation represents our multifaceted diversity — and the value of diversity to the establishment of strong communities,” said Esther Rodriguez, special assistant to the president for HSI.

From May 1-4, the campus community is invited to stop by the piece located on the Lawrence Street Parkway between the library and Plaza Building. Participants begin by reading the left of two display boards that articulate the benefit of HSI to all students. Then they select a piece of multicolored embroidery thread to represent the ethnic background(s) they identify with.

This yarn is then wound around “2x4” studs, arranged in the letters “HSI” on the second display. Each peg contains a descriptor characteristic – such as artist, learner and problem-solver. Individuals can wind thread around the appropriate peg.

And the anticipated result? A crisscrossing mosaic, representing Roadrunners of different feathers flocking together.

More than a simple exercise in aesthetics, the piece is designed as part of a larger conversation about diversity and inclusion.

Said Rodriguez, “If we can drive the MSU Denver community writ large to the installation, we might be able to answer a couple of questions: Do MSU Denver students, faculty and staff know what it means to be HSI? And did this installation help increase understanding that seeking the designation will benefit our entire institution and all students?

Designed by students Gabrielle Pantle, Arodi Ponce, Daisy Corso, Jacki Peketz and Kiersten Townsend, the piece is modeled after a similar exhibition by Dorota Grabkowska and Kuba Kolec for the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo.

The reverse display will also highlight fast facts about HSI and regional enrollment data – visualized by yarn as well.

Stop by and contribute to the display located on the Lawrence Street Parkway between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from May 1-4.

The installation was built as a part of the (CDES 4100) Community Based Design course in the Communication Design Program in the Department of Art at MSU Denver.

Topics: Hispanic Serving Institution

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