"WHAT'S YOUR WHY?"
Our first step after the initial idea sparked was to do a tally of what we would need to be able to pull of a campaign of this scale. The goal was to have a flag to represent every person who was part of the Chelsea School District with a prayer flag. We have a local grant provider for our school district called the Chelsea Education Foundation (CEF). Most schools have something similar to this or other local grant providers. Ask your administrator for more information. Another alternative to getting a grant would be to do a fundraiser within your school.
THANK YOU CHELSEA
Drilling into Walls
In the Fall, we reached out to the City of Chelsea to help us make this public art project possible. The city let us know it would be easy for them to help us drill the holes for our eye bolts and hooks.
One thing we did not anticipate were the challenges getting permission to use the walls. In the beginning, we did not realize we would need to get permission from each building owner- not just the city. The city has jurisdiction over the alleyways but no control over the walls of the buildings.
We spent some time getting the names/emails/phone numbers of the owners of each building. We talked to locals, went onto the internet and eventually got all the names of people who owned the buildings. Once we were over that hurtle it wasn't too hard to get permission. We had a sketch of the plan for the flags and samples of flags created by kids. Despite owners having to think about it, we didn't have anyone say no. It was pretty easy once we had a few key people on board, so eventually we got permission from all the necessary people.
The city helped us drill all 110 holes and put all the eyebolts up to make it easy to hang the flags. We chose to do the hooks 12 feet up the wall and 3 feet apart.
Prepping the Flags
Once we received all the flags from teachers around the district we had about 2,400 flags total- all beautifully decorated. We now needed to string the flags up and prep them for the alleyways. We had about 24 flags per strand- in hindsight, our strands were way too long and we spent time shrinking them down during the hanging process.
To make it easier, we used old clothes hangers and adapted them into giant "needles" where we were able to thread the flags easily. We also made a loop at one end of the cord (to hook the "needle"), with a piece of tape on the other end of the cord (so the flags wouldn't slip off).
This process only took a few hours! With about 10 kids helping, it went fast. We tried to keep the flags grouped with their ages but it was not always feasible. I hung the strands around the art room to keep them from getting tangled (which was the worst later on!)
Hanging the Flags
Hanging the flags required student help and lots of sturdy ladders. We didn't let students climb the ladders unless they had already graduated. Each strand of flags had to be carefully untangles from the pile brought over from the art room. Once the strand was ready, we would add a lanyard clip to one end, hook it up then adjust the opposite side to match before adding a lanyard clip again. The pattern that worked the best -especially in the long hallway was a "zig-zag". It moved the best and had no tangling occur.
TM by the #WhyYouMatter Campaign