In recognition of its 10th anniversary, The Agnes Irwin School’s Dream Flag Project ® has partnered with Art in City Hall to feature the creative art and heartfelt words of children across the United States and beyond in a special exhibition at the Visitor’s Entrance of City Hall. The exhibit runs from August 12 through September 27, and is free to the public.
Inspired by the dream poetry of Langston Hughes and the tradition of Himalayan prayer flags, The Dream Flag Project is an international poetry, art and community-building program involving students in grades K-12 from across the United States and around the world. Students write their dreams for the world, put them on a standard size of fabric, decorate them, attach them to a line, and display them in places where the dreams can connect and fly. Students have created more than 80,000 Dream Flags since the project’s founding in 2003.
With hundreds of dream flags spiraling up five stories of the stairwell that welcomes visitors to City Hall, “Stairway of Dreams” will give visitors an opportunity to glean the dreams of students everywhere. At each landing, one can learn more about the story behind the dreams, the many students – from Nepal to Alaska to Florida to Kenya – who make Dream Flags and fun facts about the project’s inspirational poet, Langston Hughes.
According to Tu Huynh, Philadelphia City Hall Exhibitions Manager, the dream flags’ stairwell display will serve as a metaphor. “With the flags wrapping around a stairwell, as you climb the stairwell,” Huynh explained, “you are actually part of the aspirations process, you are part of the exhibition.”
Jeff Harlan, a co-founder and director of the project, said the program has grown in the last decade to include schools in 34 states in the United States and 18 countries.
“Civic awareness begins when we articulate our own dreams and learn how we are connected to others,” said Harlan. “This is what The Dream Flag Project does for students around the world and what we are all about.”