“The invitation is to express a hope, dream, or prayer, write a loved one’s name, or unburden a weight by writing down a sorrow or worry,” says coordinating artist Sara Miura Zolbrod. Participate in person at the Riverfront Festival, Eugene, Oregon JUly 15-24, or text or email us your hope and we will write it and hang it for you. Says Zolbrod, “This project is inspired by a special memory I have from when I lived in Japan as a child. My parents took me to a temple and we hung a narrow piece of paper on a grand, old tree, along with thousands of other papers.”
SUPPORT/DONATE If you enjoyed this project, please consider supporting the artist with a tip or donation: VENMO: Sara Zolbrod @Dancing-and-Writing (then if prompted for last 4 digits of phone number: 2679). PAYPAL: To ReachEditingAndWriting@gmail.com
CONNECTIONS: “One dream is I would like to present this installation at Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland so if you have a connection to there, please be in touch, thanks. Portland, L.A., New York, Tokyo, etc. would be great, too!” -S.M.Z.
ARTIST BIO Sara Miura Zolbrod’s background is mostly in the performing arts. She brings her background as a half-Japanese person who grew up partially in Japan, and her years of involvement in arts access to this project. She has lived in Eugene since 2000. She is a dance teacher and editor.
BACKGROUND The hanging-papers tradition is known as omikuji in Japan and dates back to the 11th century. Small paper fortunes are sold at many Shinto shrines; people who buy them can hang their negative fortunes on a designated tree (or structure) to distance from the negativity, or hang their positive fortunes to amplify them, adding their hopes to thousands of others. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, accounts of written prayers being inserted into Jerusalem’s Western Wall date back to the late 18th century (—a million people a year from many faiths leave their written prayers in the wall.)
This “1000 Hopes” community-created art installation first bloomed outside the downtown Eugene Public Library in 2021, in May (which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month). About 1,000 schoolchildren from six schools also participated. An online panel discussion, “Oregon BIPOC Experiences and the 1000 Hopes Art Project,” was also held.
Aimee Yogi of the Japanese American Association of Lane County, Eric Richardson of the NAACP, and Maya Rabasa of Centro Latino Americano joined Zolbrod to survey some forms of Oregon’s state-led, state-sanctioned racism as well as share some of their hopes for unity. Please click here to watch the video recording, which also includes slideshows of the 2021 art installation.
MEDIA COVERAGE of 2021 INSTALLATION: KLCC 3-minute piece: Click here to read the KLCC article or to listen to it.
Register-Guard: Cafe 541 “Matt’s Picks,” May, 2021