Contributing Artist: YOU!

You are invited into a collaborative, creative experience that honors the voices of a community full of artists. In this time of transition and uncertainty, we will collectively lift up what speaks to each of us as we navigate the expanse of hope.

Below you will find submissions that were received in Fall 2020 from community members.


Use the below prompts to help your ideas emerge. Use them to create something to share, or simply as an invitation to journal or live with the questions in the days and months ahead.

Hope is the longing for that which is not yet.  What do you long for and where do you hold hope for yourself, your community, the world?

How does hope sustain you within difficulty? How has it helped you rise out of a difficult situation? What new perspective has hope gifted you with?

What senses does hope awaken within you? What colors do you see when you think of hope? What in nature speaks to you with hope?

What action/s is hope calling you into? What are the opportunities and challenges in this action?


Below you will find a selection of submissions Wisdom Ways has received speaking to our Fall 2020 theme of Hope:

September 21 marks the end of summer! As we transition out of summer, let us reflect on this photo of hope submitted by Chris Kwong.
“Papa celebrated beginnings.” — so begins Holocaust survivor and author Fred M. B. Amram of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in his submission Bereshit Bara Elohim (God Created Beginnings).
by Debra Darby


Our only home is the road
We choose to travel with each other.
There may be boulders
Branches to clear from the road
It may be grassy and untrodden.
But we travel
Forecasting sunny weather
Yet witnessing storms
If they come, with gladness
Gratitude and hope.


All this
Before we can find
An open field
to plant our seeds:
Scatter in loving handfuls
Along the road
in trust that the
Trees will grow willowy
with rustling leaves
To shelter and soothe
Those who came after;
Spirits in the earthly kingdom
yet unborn.

There is a large five trunk tree on Boom Island in Minneapolis that I stand inside in order to get rooted and grounded in hope and trust. I feel my own roots going deep with the tree’s roots. And when the wind blows the leaves against one another, it seems like the tree is speaking to me. I go there several times a week; and it sustains me during these hard times, during all times. I think of it as a womb tree, and I imagine myself in the womb of God there. Safe, calm,warm, steady, solid, renewed with hope for another day. This art piece is my contemporary quilted icon of that tree, and I use it each day in my prayer time. I call it “womb tree.”

-Artist Janet Hagberg

Both visually and in the making, Return Again expresses the bodily manifestation of resilience and hope after childhood traumatic experiences. Hope not being a straight line, builds out from the sculptures center, its core, and spirals through its 100+ individual strands of willow. It is an active, circular process that emerges from naming truths, even though they are painful. This meditation of creating and connecting is both healing and grounding while also challenging and chaotic. This process results in a complex path forward where hope emanates throughout the sculpture.

I am an artist, a nurse and a truthteller.  The artist in me wants to express; the nurse in me wants to encourage healing; and the truthteller wants to put form to difficult universal truths.  My basketry weaves together the healing in body, mind, and soul to invite wholeness in both the work and in myself.  Complex techniques are my starting point in creating sculptures that emphasize negative space and explore emotions and human experience.

-Artist Martha Bird

by Rosemary Curran

Walking by the river, I found a small uprooted tree that resembled the shape of the Goddess Durga: Mother of the Hindu Universe. I took Her home and accessorized her with a pink crystal heart and wove yarn around her many limbs. I gave her a simple name, Hope. With skyward roots, Hope is a paradox.

“Hope is elemental. It is made of some of the strongest stuff in the universe. It endures.” (Jan Richardson)

For me, hope is red, pulsing gently, alive. I wrapped the root in red yarn, letting it hang down to create a veil.

I feel held by hope’s free falling deep embrace. Surrender. Sorrow. Despair. Yielding. Joy. Jubilation.

by Kristin Gifford


Winding through the low hum of insects in dark jungles, giant trees send rough bark and heavy leaves over the edges of steep mountain ravines. The stories of centuries are bound in the deep reach of their branches, whispered in the rustle of their papery voices.

And the trees say: we will again shake loose the long locks of our roots and with soft fingers, the people will begin to braid. It is slow and patient work and some arms will weaken. Still, our strands grow, through strong and weak hands alike– the gentle and the rough, through all the faithful–we will be knotted, twisted, entwined, fused in our endless reach. And together, together we will braid a bridge. A bridge that stretches over sharp mountain impasses with the very tension and force of life. On that suspension of communal hope we will hold you and you will walk through clouds.

So these trees, these ancient grandmothers keep watch over this labor, gently bowing their crowns towards earth, tenderly gathering all within their weathered arms. See them tuck someone beneath warm earth in quiet burial. Watch now as they nod to the ones eating and weaving and sleeping. Listen to the silence of their heartwood. Give them your next exhale and inhale the light they wind into breath.

Hold all the strands they offer.

Begin to weave.

Photo credit: Prasenjeet Yadav

by Veronica Barnes

Disruption in my body
Tumor removed and a cancer diagnosis
Corruption in my country
Systemic racism, puppets at the reigns
Eruption in my city
George Floyd’s death, burning pain all around
My womb removed,
My heart consumed,
These are the days
Global pandemic taking lives
Furloughed, at home, alone
Collecting unemployment for the first time
Get quiet. Listen. Have a vision.
Our world has changed and so have we
Don’t just let it be
Anxiety, grief, anger and fear fill the streets
Not only here, but everywhere
The shift is set in motion
So much commotion
Do not turn your gaze,
Be amazed
By the families marching,
The organizing
Stop this national album set on repeat,
What a feat
Where does hope reside?
Here, within, is where hope lies
In the wisdom of our elders,
In the passion of the people,
In the eyes of our youngest citizens,
Watching, learning, adapting
Chaos, hate and despair into
Knowledge, Resources, Repair
Teaching the young, that each and EVERY ONE of us has power
This is the hour
These are the days
Do not turn your gaze
Be amazed
Cancer free within, fighting cancer without
How will this all turn out?
Pick up your pen, your brush, your voice
And let’s make noise
The kind that opens hearts, is smart and true
The kind that brings the best of you
This community needs unity,
And it all starts with you.

by Erika Rae

by John Meier

by Michael Wilhelm