Artists, yarnbombers support local fight against child abuseWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
A knitting group from Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., has contributed to the sea of blue planned for Toledo.
In support of Lucas County Children Services’ (LCCS) Wear Blue Day, a day bringing awareness to child abuse, a Toledo “yarnbomber” with a secret identity will decorate the streets with blue.
Known by the moniker “Streetspun Yarnbomber,” the local artist enlisted the help of fellow yarnbombers all over the world. At press time, she was expecting yarn bombs from five European countries, including Germany and Sweden, and several other U.S. states.
Yarnbombs are knitted sleeves that can often be found around lampposts, parking meters and bike racks. During the week of Wear Blue Day, which is April 10, Streetspun will install the blue yarnbombs outside the LCCS building on Adams Street. They will remain up at least until the agency’s annual memorial on April 19.
The Cosmic Knittas from Sandy Hook in Newtown Conn., site of the December school shooting in which 26 students and adults were killed, was one of the groups to send a yarnbomb. A handwritten card that came with the piece read: “We know all too well that we need to protect our children and applaud your efforts for Wear Blue Day. We are graffiti knitters from Sandy Hook who are working on our own event but want to support yours too.”
LCCS Public Information Officer Julie Malkin communicated with Streetspun via email.
“It’s a great artistic way to show that people really care about kids,” Malkin said. “It’s particularly touching to have something coming from Sandy Hook where there was so much sadness.”
Streetspun said she loved the gesture from the Cosmic Knittas.
“For me, it really goes to show that we all can come together, be peaceful and love one another,” Streetspun said via email. “I know that we cannot solve the world’s problems with [yarnbombs] but it is one way to make you smile and give you that warm fuzzy feeling.”
This form of graffiti is an act of good intentions, Streetspun said.
“They are all made with love and are meant to be a happy gesture to make things brighter and to simply make you smile,” she said.
Streetspun picked up the hobby on the first International Yarnbombing Day, June 11, 2011. Immediately, she knew she was hooked. When she was contacted by LCCS to make yarn bombs, she couldn’t refuse.
“When your city asks for [yarnbombs] how can you say no?” Streetspun said. “When you are making a statement like standing up against child abuse and domestic violence it is without a doubt very near and dear to my heart.”
After Wear Blue Day, Streetspun wants to donate the yarnbombs to an organization.
“Wherever they end up it will surely be a reminder of hope that there is so much love out in the world especially when it comes to our children,” she said.
Artomatic 419! also plans to support the day of awareness. LCCS joined forces with Artomatic 419!, which issued an open call for artists to submit art for a “Blue Room” piece.
Two local artists, Louis Wilson and Kelly O’Brien, will create blue artwork for the local arts showcase set for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. April 13, 20 and 27. The pieces will be set up at 911 Summit St., with Wilson’s on the first floor and O’Brien’s on the second.
“We appreciate the value of freedom of expression,” Malkin said. “Child abuse is a very sad and unfortunate thing and for people to express themselves artistically to show their feelings about this very serious subject is terrific.”
Wilson wants to help people understand the effects of child abuse with his wall-hanging, mixed media piece.
“I’ve seen the adverse effects on families and children from child abuse,” Wilson said. “[My piece is] meant for people to draw their own direction toward child abuse and the anguish that it brings.”
O’Brien wanted to portray more with the color blue in her piece. She hopes people get awareness from it.
“Blue also represents peaceful, tranquility, calmness,” O’Brien said. “I wanted to somehow portray that.”
April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month since 1983. This is the second year Wear Blue Day has been observed in Toledo.