On the first day of summer, June 21, SAIC joined famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Bach Project, the North Lawndale community, the City of Chicago, and partners to work toward a greener North Lawndale. Ma's Bach Project is a tour of 36 cities on six continents, in which he performs Bach’s six suites for solo cello reports WTTW. "At each destination, Ma works with community leaders to organize a Day of Action that examines a prevailing issue. In Chicago, Ma asked, 'How can we use culture to confront gun violence in the city?,'" reports the Chicago Tribune.
Ma performed alongside Civic Orchestra of Chicago fellow Alexandria Hoffman, who played a flute made from the barrel of a rifle. Behind the performers were five shovels made from melted guns confiscated in Chicago—a 2017 work called Palas por Pistolas, or Guns into Shovels, by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes. After the performance, Ma joined volunteers to plant trees in the once rundown park. The event, which was a collaboration between the North Lawndale Sesquicentennial Committe, commemorated the 150th anniversary of the West Side neighborhood, and SAIC. “Art has the power to unite, not divide, and there is no better place to talk about unity than Unity Park here in Chicago," said President Tenny to the Chicago Tribune.