For the past few Earth Days, weather permitting, Grace Minnesota has presented Wishes for the Sky: a day of wishing on kites, experiencing public art, and respecting the environment hosted on Harriet Island in Saint Paul.
Wishes for the Sky makes public otherwise private thoughts; it also makes communal an otherwise individual practice. As kids we vow not to share what we wish for when blowing out birthday candles for fear of it not coming true. And as an adult, I can’t think of the last time I honestly truly wished for something, never mind telling anyone about it.
So imagine bringing together a whole population of ‘wishers’ and inviting them to wish together, in public! Wishes for the Sky validates all wants, letting the wisher chose their own hope after an inspiring chat with a Heart-Counselor and a walk through the Wishing Pavilion. While many wish for world peace and an end to poverty, others have wished to meet a famous teen heartthrob or for warm summer weather. No matter the desire, it is illustrated with words on traditional Chinese kites and then set to flight as the wisher tries to catch the wind. This public performance of wishing is unique and, for many (including myself), treasured.
Yesterday, I wrote a wish on a kite. I was able to fly it for a few minutes on intermittent wind bursts before returning it for another to wish on. And though at the time I was entirely confident in the promise and practice of public wish-making, that feeling has now passed. Today, I simply cannot bear to publicly pronounce my wish. The fear of the birthday wish that may not come true if shared has returned, and with it, my self-consciousness. I suppose this speaks to the power of such an event, but also reveals the truly ephemeral nature of wishing.
About the author: Katie Hill is an art historian, writer, and cat lady living in Saint Paul. She is also the current mnartists.org Program Fellow.
Viewfinder posts are your opportunity to “show & tell” about the everyday arts happenings, interesting sights and sounds made or as seen by Minnesota artists, because art is where you find it. Submit your own informal, first-person responses to the art around you to katie(at)mnartists.org, and we may well publish your piece here on the blog. (Guidelines: 300 words or less, not about your own event/work, and please include an image, media, video, or audio file, and one sentence about yourself.)