While we were brainstorming for our project this year, one thing we knew was that we wanted to do something "public art" related- after all, we are two art teachers. While shopping at the Global Market Place in downtown Chelsea, Kevin Frahm (the owner) mentioned wanted to fill his alleyway with prayer flags. This conversation ended up inspiring our project for the year.
We did some research into prayer flags and found that the purpose behind the colorful flags was exactly what we needed to bring into our community. We made sure that the purpose behind the flags was clear when we hung them downtown.
While we were working on the Ted Talk Speaker Series, we were also doing the background work to create this District Wide- community inspired Prayer Flag Project.
P.S. To be honest- we did have a discussion about the use of the word "prayer" with our flags. We debated calling them "why" flags or "purpose" flags. Those didn't flow as well and in the end we decided that every person has prayers, even if they're not to a god and it was part of the heritage of the flags themselves.
"Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all. By hanging flags in high places the Lung ta will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings. As wind passes over the surface of the flags, which are sensitive to the slightest movement of the wind, the air is purified and sanctified by the mantras."