The Wishing Tree

This past spring, I taught an 8-week Guerilla Arts class at the Lawrence Arts Center for middle school to high school kids. The focus was on creating art with a positive message that was anonymously posted or distributed around the neighborhood. One of the projects that we did for the Final Friday Gallery Crawl was to turn the tree in front of the Arts Center into a Wishing Tree.

We made colorful blank tags with yarn attached to them for people to write their wishes on, and then tie onto the tree. Since the tree had large branches, without easy places for people to tie onto, we strung yarn around it to serve as an armature. - Wishing tree - 01

Here people attending Final Friday are starting to put their wishes onto the Wishing Tree.



People loved the wishing tree, so I left it up for everyone to enjoy, and to continue adding wishes to it. Every time I went to the Arts Center, I loved seeing the colorful wishes dancing in the wind.

Some time later the local news was downtown to cover a story, saw the wishing tree, and decided to do a story on it! I wasn’t at the Arts Center when this impromptu story happened, so they spoke with Neal Barbour, the Director of Youth Education. Below is the video that they shot.

Time to make a wish! Lawrence Arts Center #WishingTree

Posted by MidcoSN Kansas on Monday, June 19, 2017


I knew that things would get tattered and start falling apart from the rain and weather. I saw that as part of the process. But I didn’t realize that the unused wish tags in the ziplock bag would get waterlogged when it rained. So I’ve had to do maintenance from time to time. I haven’t figured out an easy solution to keep water from getting into the bag that’s attached to the tree.

This summer, I taught the Guerilla Arts class again, but as a week-long class. We left the existing yarn & wishes on the wishing tree, and spiffed it up by adding beads, ribbons & more yarn for places to tie on wishes, along with new signs.


I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of the wishing tree and it makes me happy seeing the community add their wishes to it. I loved working with kids in this type of workshop, teaching them different ways to spread positive messages or even just happy art out into the world.

I got the idea for the wishing tree from Keri Smith’s book, The Guerilla Art Kit. (This is an affiliate link to Amazon, and I might get a teeny tiny commission if you use it.)

The kids summer classes are over at the Lawrence Arts Center, but I am teaching two adult classes this fall.

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