Unity in Maplewood, One Hoop at a Time

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If you’ve been around Maplewood lately, chances are you have come across these on front lawns:

(All photos were taken by poster Copihue on Maplewood Online.)

They are part of a townwide art project formally titled “Amity, Unity, Infinity,” spearheaded by artist Benjamin John Kaufman, and co-sponsored by 1978 Maplewood Art Center and the Maplewood VFW. The project will culminate in a participatory art installation at Maplewood’s July 4th celebration at Memorial Park, where the decorated hoops will be placed together to form a 300-foot infinity symbol.  Kaufman coordinates a participatory, kid-friendly art project each year at the town’s Independence Day event.

Residents can get the hoops from Kaufman (email him at bjohnk1@comcast.net), and can decorate them as they choose and bring them to the 4th. They also will be available the day of, with fabric canvas stretched between them for painting.

As the artist recounted in a recent podcast interview with Maplewoodian’s Joe Strupp, Kaufman came up with the idea over a couple of beers with a couple of friends — one of whom is on the board of 1978 and the other of whom is the chairman of the town’s planning board — one night at St. James Gate Pub.

In the meantime, the hoops are adding a fun flourish to the town. People have put their unique, creative spin on them, filling the centers with patchwork quilting and other materials:

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