The art of wishing comes true with prayers project

BMA exhibit lets visitors contribute their dreams

Family: events, activities

November 06, 2003|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Have a wish, hope or dream? Sure do, you say. Well, write it down and take part in The Beaded Prayers Project, an international collaborative art endeavor by Sonya Clark, presented at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

On display Wednesday through Feb. 29, the exhibit features uniquely decorated cloth packets containing the written wishes, hopes and dreams of about 4,500 people. The project is the brainchild of Clark, a Baltimore fiber artist. It began in 1999 and was inspired by traditional African amulets.

Clark has collected the small beaded prayers from participants ages 6 to 90 from 35 countries. The beaded prayers measure from as small as 1 inch by 1 inch to as large as 4 inches by 5 inches.

Folks in Baltimore can write down their own wish on a slip of paper, enclose it in a small fabric swatch, seal it with thread, embellish it with beads and submit it for the project at workshops at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2 p.m. Nov. 30 and 5 p.m. Feb. 5.

"This community art project resonates with the BMA's philosophy to engage its visitors in programs that foster self-discovery through encounters with works of art," says Allison Perkins, museum deputy director of education and interpretation and co-curator of the exhibit.

The exhibit will cover the walls of two galleries. There also will be a small display of African objects, including a never-before-exhibited West African hunter's amulet shirt.

Related programs will take place at the museum. Before the hands-on workshop Nov. 16, Clark will present a slide lecture at 1 p.m. on amulet traditions from the African diaspora and throughout the world. Her workshop will include learning basic beading techniques and creating two beaded prayers -- one to keep and one to contribute to the exhibit.

The program Nov. 30 will include a talk by Angelique Weger at 1 p.m. on the project and its connection to the museum's collection. A second hands-on workshop will be at 2 p.m. with participants again creating two beaded prayers.

On Feb. 5, admission to the museum will be free, and visitors can take part in First Thursday events from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when they can view the Beaded Prayers Project and create a pair of beaded prayers. Tours and talks will be offered on the African displays.

"The Beaded Prayers Project" will be on display Wednesday through Feb. 29 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. The program Nov. 16 will include a lecture at 1 p.m. and workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Lecture and workshop are free with museum admission. The program Nov. 30 will include a talk at 1 p.m. and workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Talk and workshop are free with museum admission. The program Feb. 5 is First Thursday. Free admission all day, with exhibit-related activities from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Regular museum admission is $7; $5 seniors and college students; free for age 18 and under. Call 410-396-7100 or visit

For more family events, see Page 45.

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