After one year of energetically weaving stars out of gift tie ribbon, old maps, junk mail, gift wrap, old Lotus posters, newspapers and repurposed cloth, Lotus surpassed its goal of 10,000 stars to the One Million Stars to End Violence project. Lotus worked with more than 70 community partners and 4,000 participants at community events with enthusiastic star-weavers of all ages to contribute over 11,500 to the One Million Stars project.

One Million Stars became an international effort led by Maryann Talia Pau after a violent crime took place near her Melbourne art studio. Pau was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Pau wanted to weave one million stars to signify light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, while the making of the woven stars should remind us that we have to make peace and safe spaces. During her visit to Bloomington for the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, Pau led several star weaving workshops. Bloomington is one of only five cities in all of the United States that is a Star Weave Community for the project.

More than 8,000 stars are currently on exhibit at City Hall through January 31. Later in the year, the stars will travel to Australia where the culmination of One Million Stars to End Violence will take place in April of 2018 at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Lotus’ contribution of more than 11,500 stars will appear as part of one million stars from around the world.

“This project has taught many valuable lessons to thousands in Bloomington and beyond, that the art of peace begins within each of us. The beauty we can create together with the simple gesture of weaving a star is an act of love and hope for humankind, and a beautiful reminder of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s wisdom to always find strength to love over hate,” said Loraine Martin, Lotus Outreach Director and coordinator of Bloomington’s One Million Stars project.

Explore the Lotus website to catch up on our year-long visual arts project.