Modern art and I have a love/hate relationship since my visit to the Chicago Art Institute which threw me over the edge. Yoko Ono’s art over the years has been controversial for me so when I heard about the Wish Tree for Washington, DC, I was curious. How is a living tree a work of art? I have a yard full of trees and no one has deemed them art or offered to move them to a museum. But frankly, I let that go as I wanted to believe that the art and the tree were magic and that wishes could come true. I had a wish to make!
Located outside the Hirshhorn Museum in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, the Wish Tree for Washington DC, is a dogwood tree installed in 2007 as part of Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree series that began in 1996. Visitors are invited from July 1st through Labor Day to write their wishes down on a tag provided in the blue box next to the tree and gently tie it to a branch. The Hirshhorn museum staff will then collect the wishes from the Wish Tree for Washington, DC during the summer and send them to the larger art installation by Yoko Ono “Imagine Peace Tower” in Reykjavik, Iceland. Imagine Peace Tower shines light into the sky each year from October 9th (John Lennon’s birthday) until December 8th (the date of his death) and various other days. I’m not sure how I missed that beam of light and art installation on my Reykjavik visit but sadly I did. I’d love to read the wishes from the world as I’m sure despite our differences, the wishes are the same – peace, love, happiness and the ability to provide for our families (plus a few lotto wins).
The Wish Tree for Washington, DC was filled with serious, silly and lots of children’s wishes (on lower branches). Pick a branch and read the wishes, every branch tells a unique story. A child’s story on the lower branches and more adult (and political) wishes on the upper branches.
Wishes of world peace, of sibling peace and political peace. Wishes for pots of gold and lottery wins. Wishes for stuffed animals and candy and for her little brother to stop being annoying. Wishes for happy marriages, graduations, new jobs, new relationships and new lives. Wishes for love, happiness and smiles. Wishes for good health and vacations that never end. Everyone that walked by the tree stopped to write down a wish.
Walking under the tree reading the branches of wishes felt like an invasion of privacy into the lives of others like me. Those who stop to visit a tree (interactive artwork) and wish on it, hoping it has magical powers to grant wishes and change their lives and the lives of those around them. The best feeling was being alone under the tree staring at the potential of the wishes tied to the tree – the hopes, dreams and fantasies of people.
Every person has a unique story to tell and despite our differences in the world today, we all have hopes for the future. Sounds simple but sometimes a few wishes and dreams need to be expressed in order to get there. While we all want to wish for the larger good in the world, for the most part the wishes I read were very individual because really if a genie appeared to you now and gave you one wish, most likely you’d skip “world peace” and make a wish that is personal to you and your family.
After Labor Day in the U.S., the blue box goes away but not your ability to wish. You can whisper your wish at The Wish Tree for Washington, DC and other locations. You can wish aloud at home, dream your wish or work toward your wish.
You can also send your wish to the Imagine Peace Tower
- via Twitter @IPTower
- email to Wish@ImaginePeaceTower.com
- mail your wish on a post card to Imagine Peace Tower, P.O. Box 1009, 121 Reykjavik, Iceland
The world is full of people, full of stories and full of wishes. We all have wishes we speak and those we hold close to our hearts. The question is “What one wish would you write down and put out into the world on a branch tied to the Wish Tree for Washington, DC?