Artist rendering of US: United Sapiens. Courtesy Mee Jey
Artist rendering of US: United Sapiens. Courtesy Mee Jey

Free, Workshop

Community Celebration: US: United Sapiens

Location: Veterans Community Project, 1515 N. Grand Boulevard

Come to Veterans Community Project St. Louis (VCP-STL) to celebrate the unveiling of a public artwork co-created with artist Mee Jey, community members, and VCP-STL staff and volunteers. This artwork, US: United Sapiens, is a figurative sculpture that uses colorful forms to represent and embody cooperation. Guests are invited to add embellishments to the sculpture, enjoy a complimentary reception, and learn about VCP’s mission to serve our area’s veteran population.

US: United Sapiens is a public sculpture that was created out of a community-driven project called Collective Impact, organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Creative Reaction Lab. Engaging a collective of artists and residents of the North St. Louis neighborhoods of Covenant Blu Grand, Jeff VanderLou, The Ville, and Vandeventer, Collective Impact used art and creative placemaking as a vehicle to work together and address an issue of common interest: building beautiful community. 

The Collective conducted self assessments and interviewed neighborhood residents and identified the shared desire for “building beautiful community.” After inviting artists to create proposals for a project that would promote connectivity, creative fellowship, and interpret what “beautiful” could mean with a positive impact on the community, the Collective selected St. Louis-based artist Mee Jey’s proposal to create a sculpture of five interconnected steel figures, representing cooperation and solidarity. 

Veterans Community Project St. Louis was selected as the recipient and home for this sculpture, to underscore its mission of housing through “strength and support of the community.” The sculptures also feature woven cables and embellishments that were designed and created with community participation–the embodiment of fellowship that we hope will enrich life for village residents and the broader North St. Louis communities.

Collective Impact community participants: Audrey Ellermann, Melita Harry, Ronald Jones, Alexis Merriweather, Ada Parker, DeZha Smith, DaZanni Smith, Quinton Ward, and Frankie Williams

Mee Jey (b. 1987) is a multidisciplinary Indian artist who has received the St. Louis Visionary Emerging Artist Award and the Mother Art Prize (London, UK). Jey has shown works, performed, and been creatively associated with the Saint Louis Art Museum, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK), and Middlesex University (London, UK). She has held artist residencies at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Craft Alliance, and Kranzberg Arts Foundation. She received a BA in History and MA in Archaeology from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, respectively and an MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.