A group of young graphic designers from around the country arrived in Belfast May 4 for an intensive two-week stay as part of Project M North.

The program, headed by Belfast resident John Bielenberg, challenges the visiting artists to collaborate on a project that combines art and community service. Last year, the Project M hothouse was responsible for the apparently spontaneous appearance of a blaze-orange bakery truck in downtown Belfast bearing many homemade pies that the program’s participants served to passers-by.

According to Danne Dzenawagis, one of this year’s Project M participants, the group is in the exploratory phase of the project, during which members immerse themselves in the community and brainstorm within the group.

Two weeks may not be much time to get to know the community, but an observer would be hard-pressed to say the Project M participants didn’t try.

Five of the M’ers performed an act of civic participation that not every full-time resident can claim: they attended the May 4 City Council meeting from beginning to end, and took notes.

Asked what he thought of the meeting, one of the members, Thomas Gaskin, was thoughtful. “It’s interesting to see what people are passionate about,” he said.