Visitors to the Northwest corner of New York's Union Square park on June 8 were treated to an unexpectedly stark sight for a June afternoon: the name of the president spelled out in dry ice, slowly melting away.

Photos by Eric March/Upworthy.

The installation, titled "This Too Shall Pass," is the work of Georgian-American artist David Datuna, who came up with the idea for the art performance after President Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement.


"What I do in my art, it’s for the future, for the new generation," he says.

A previous installation, "SOS/ONE," a mobile collage that Datuna took on the road last fall, spoke to the sense of alarm — and hope for healing — in a divided country on the eve of a contentious election.

With Trump's ascendance to the presidency, and hostility to climate science, Datuna believes the "SOS" scenario has come to pass.

"I think it’s disgusting what he did," Datuna says of Trump's decision to leave the Paris agreement.

The dry ice piece, he hopes, leaves its viewers with the conviction that while destruction to the climate may be real and lasting, Trump himself, and his environmental policies, are temporary.

"Sooner or later, it’s going to end," he says.

A few dozen onlookers gathered to take photos — and consider what the piece might mean — as the dry ice melted.

GIFs by Eric March/Upworthy.

And melted.

And melted.

Reactions from those who stopped were swift — and often visceral.

"Ugh, Trump," exclaimed a middle-school-aged child, walking by with a group of friends.

A park employee on shift briefly stepped up to the installation, only to turn away repulsed, shaking her head.

Some saw a rebuke to the president in the ice.

Steve Schuit, who noticed the installation on a walk through the park with his family, saw the instillation as an ominous omen for the president, especially in the wake of former FBI director James Comey's testimony before Congress.

"I think Trump is in the process of melting down," he said.

While others stopped to admire the craft of the piece — and how it reflects their concerns about the environment.

"It just stood out. It’s just very original," says Karen Bass, a teacher in the park on an unexpected afternoon off.

Bass, who plans to attend a climate rally near her home in Forest Hills, Queens, on Saturday, recently attended a professional development workshop where she was shocked by a series of charts forecasting potential temperature rise over the next several decades.

"It’s scary what could happen with the sea levels rising. It’s very scary," she explains.

Datuna was joined in the park by his 11-year-old son David Jr., who took the day off from school to help set up and explain the project.

David Datuna and son David Jr.‌

"The oceans are rising. The islands are disappearing. And it might cover up New York or it might cover up the Netherlands or other countries," he explains.

Like many ambitious children his age, he wants to be president one day. Unlike most of his peers, he knows exactly why.

"[The country] is divided into two," he says. "I want to make it into one."

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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