Graham McKee's art

Graham McKee (left) explains his art piece (photo courtesy of Sarah Peterson).

By Lifestyle Editor Sarah Peterson

Threads, an exploration of diversity, exploring differing views and learning about our neighbors.

Aaron Bloom, a former Northwestern student, started Threads, a conglomerate of music, art, spoken word and theater, to help people from different backgrounds and beliefs come together under the same roof. Jan. 26 was the first event held in 2017, though there have been three others held previously. This one was hosted at Honey, a restaurant modeled after underground bars in New York. Honey is in a stretch of Northeast Minneapolis that holds many hidden gems, and this restaurant/bar was no exception. Nestled on a busy street, Honey is a hip spot to go and grab a bite to eat.

Entering, you walk down a long flight of stairs, which leads you to a long bar and a room where the walls are lined with leather couches, small tables and low, tasteful lighting. Glancing into the other room, you see the dimly lit stage and another concrete-lined floor filled with tables and rows of chairs. Purposeful graffiti fills some of the walls, while chipping paint and bare concrete covers the rest.

“Right vs. Wrong” was the theme of the night, and this tension was demonstrated through the artists and musicians that performed. One of the spoken word speakers was an atheist, and the band was from a local church.

Why the diversity of people? To get to hear about the worldview of others whose thinking differs from that of a typical Christian.

“I dealt with a lot of angst at Northwestern because I am a very liberal-minded person,” said Bloom. “So I started these nights because I wanted to explore different types of thoughts with a wide variety of people.”

And a wide variety he got. While the spoken word was dealing with heartbreak and the purpose of life, the theatre performance portrayed someone going through life naïvely and not understanding why bad things happen to good people.

“We are able to talk about these issues in a way that we don’t typically get to [in the Christian community],” said Bloom.

Along with the live performances, there was also a piece of artwork that Graham McKee, another former Northwestern student and local upcoming artist, created to allow the viewers to discover “Right vs. Wrong” in their own way. The art piece resembled a scale and a road beneath, covered in red and white paint, representing right and wrong.

“It’s a roadmap to view the world in regard to morals,” explained McKee. “There’s so much more room for opportunity than we already have on the plate. It’s not always straight forward.”

McKee had a story and an explanation to go along with the art, but he allowed others to explore it themselves before he clarified his reasoning behind the piece.

This was the point of the whole evening, hearing and seeing “Right vs. Wrong,” being played out before your eyes and then having discussions afterwards. That’s why Bloom arranged this night so that people would feel comfortable coming together and agreeing to disagree.

“The theme is whatever I have been thinking about. It takes two or three months to write the whole thing,” Bloom concluded, “I’m not just doing this by myself, though. I’m talking with Christians, Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists…I’m throwing ideas off of everybody. I like to pretend it’s all me! But it’s actually a lot of [different] people [and their work] that go into these nights.”

More information about Threads, its mission and upcoming events can be found on the group’s website.

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