March First

March First Army Men

Just so you know, if you want to get me to help you with your thing, all you have to do is say "it's an art project." Boom, I'm there. So it was that at 9 pm tonight I was out with 70 other people putting little green army men every 3 feet along Lincoln Avenue. For 5 miles, from Lincoln and Clark to Lincoln and Western.

Peace activist Sallie Gratch had brought the Mouths Wide Open Army Men Project to Chicago, as covered in a recent Reader article (PDF link), placing green plastic army men in random locations around Chicago. She inspired the organizers of the "March First" art/activism project to take that a step farther by placing 4300 army men "marching" down Lincoln Avenue. Each army man has a sticker (or should have -- the prone guys lost their sticker pretty easily) that says "Bring Me Home" and the Mouths Wide Open website.

The whole project had taken just three weeks from conception to execution, and the mood of those gathered at the Lincoln Tap Room afterwards was pretty chill. With a minimum of effort each (I covered just 2 blocks) we had accomplished a pretty big project. Would anyone understand / think about / be affected by the message of the project? Who knows. But together we had all done a thing.

Update: a set of photos, a blog post from Rachel Mason, Miss Single USA discusses getting involved.