After yearslong effort, East Ninth Street public art project to hold scattered, outdoor party to celebrate its completion | LJW

By Rochelle Valverde on October 2, 2020

A public art project that once divided neighbors is now hoping that the culmination of the long-running effort can bring the whole community together for an outdoor event of art, live music and free food.

The completion of the East Ninth Street art project — which includes the work of 18 artists — comes after a yearslong saga that included disagreement, rejection and ultimately reinvention of the project’s concept. Now, that second iteration of the project, Rebuilding East Ninth Together, is preparing to celebrate its completion on Saturday. The event, adjusting to the pandemic, will host art, performances, live music and activities across more than 20 sites in East Lawrence.

Because of the struggles and conflict in the project’s past, as well as the pandemic, project facilitator Mandy Enfield said she hopes the event, which has combined with the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association’s annual block party, will be about much more than just the project.

“It’s about seeing your neighbors, seeing great art, sharing a meal and having a moment with beautiful weather before it gets cold,” Enfield said. “(An event) where we’re all reminded that our neighbors matter and our community matters.”

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