You may have seen images of the new Prayer Wing Mural at Unity Village. This interactive mural project featuring hand colored feathers from individuals around the world took over 6 months from concept to installation. Here’s the story….
Original inspiration for this project came from a combination of street artist Kelsey Montague’s work and my friend’s Instagram feed. Rev. Amanda Ganley stood posed in front of a set of wings made up of individual feathers created by the youth at Albuquerque CSL. The idea was filed in my mind and on my saved photos reel as a future project to do through Unity Arts Ministry.
When Austin DeForest, manager of the Unity Village Bookstore and Café contacted me in October of 2020 with a request for Unity Arts Ministry to create artwork for the Café, the wings project popped into mind. As social distancing was at its height during this time, I saw the wings as a way to create community and to set positive prayer intention.
I reached out to members of our local Unity Arts Community for creative assistance. April Zimmerman created a concept sketch for the mural design. Barbara Hadley designed our feather template. Later in the project, Philip Brown constructed wooden wings using April’s template to use as our canvas.
Invitation to participate was shared primarily through social media outlets providing access to a printable pdf with the feather template and a prayer slip to share intentions. Individual feathers were created in people’s homes and mailed into our studio at Unity Village, MO.
Shortly after the project launched in December of 2020, we began receiving feathers in the mail. Feathers were collected over a 2-month period. Envelopes came in from participants down the street to as far away as New Zealand. Some envelopes contained a single feather and prayer, while others contained multiples created by families, groups of friends, or single individuals with many prayers to share. I personally opened each envelope and held the prayer feathers in my hand affirming the written prayer with the individual. Quite often these sessions left me in tears as I felt the powerful prayer energy of hope and peace for the world; of sadness for loved ones lost; of prayers for health and wholeness; and many affirming love for all of humanity.
In total we received over 300 feathers from around the world. April Zimmerman and I used these prayer feathers to paint a flowing, gradient of color onto the wooden wing templates. After 6 months in the making, the Prayer Wing Mural was installed in the Unity Village Bookstore & Café on March 23rd, 2021, in time for their Spring reopening on April 5th.
It is our intention that these Prayer Wings will help to remind all who see them of our Unity. They are a physical demonstration of the power of community to create something beautiful through shared intention, even when we are not physically together. We hope that as individuals stand before these prayer filled wings they feel empowered, and uplifted in joy!
– Rev. Jen Hutchins, founder Unity Arts Ministry.