In 2001, at the September 20 AHA night in downtown New Bedford, College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) students and faculty invited the public to join them in the creation of a three-week public memorial to the victims of the tragic attacks on September 11.
Participants were invited to write private prayers enclosed in rice paper envelopes that were hung on strings throughout the Star Store’s atrium. Although the installation was public, each individual’s expression was private, contained within a folded and stitched, envelope-like form. All the materials necessary to create a paper prayer were available, including pre-cut rice paper and natural elements, such as leaves and sticks (attached once the paper was folded).
The prayers were on view for three weeks at the Star Store, and many more were added to the display during this time. Before his retirement, former CVPA Gallery Director Lasse Antonsen transferred the entire collection of hundreds of prayers to the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, where they are now permanently preserved. Archives Assistant Karen Correia spent hours this past spring untangling the strings attached to the delicate paper prayers. They are now stored in acid-free boxes with transparent lids so that one can easily view the contents and get an idea of the scope of the memorial without taking them out of the boxes.
For more information, contact Judy Farrar at the Archives and Special Collections <firstname.lastname@example.org>.