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Volunteers, Organizations Spend MLK Day As Day Of Service

LaMantia

Groups of volunteers worked on service projects across the state Monday as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Forty-one organizations in Bloomington received funding this year to complete service or educational projects to honor King’s legacy.

Artist Joe LaMantia led one of those service projects.

LaMantia and a group of volunteers met at StoneBelt in Bloomington to work on a project called The Heart Shelter. The shelter will be housed at the Shalom Community Center and will feature mosaic-style columns and a heart at the center.

Several volunteers whacked tri-colored tiles with mallets to split them, before cutting and adhering the pieces to the metal columns.

LaMantia says he’s excited to launch the project with the help of community members.

“It involves so many people in so many different aspects," he says. "It’s great to have MLK Day. Initially, this is a kick-off day for me. I’ve been collecting materials, getting ready and this is a great opportunity to have the community see a little or experience a little of what is to come.”

And he says volunteering is a way for residents to feel active in their area.

“They have that sense of ownership, that sense of being part of. And I think that’s so important when you live in a city — to feel like you’re part of it and not just there. You’re doing something,” LaMantia says.

He says the smashed tiles that create the mosaic symbolize the break-up of a home, the unification of a community and the compassion of people.

He says he hopes to have the columns completed within the month. The shelter is expected to be installed in the spring or summer.

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