With the World Parkinson Congress just months away, I'm constantly learning about wonderful projects being put in place for the conference. It's exciting to hear of activities in many of the countries I've visited during my travels. This week I had an even more amazing experience...discovering an endeavor near my hometown in Montana.
Just minutes before I boarded a flight to Butte, Montana, I read an email requesting WPC bloggers help get the word out about "Forging Resilience", a program that is gathering stories and quotes from those with Parkinson's around the world. The quotes are being placed on the leaves of their "tree" that will be on display at WPC 2016 in Portland. I was then surprised to read that the artists, Carolyn and Hadley, were in Missoula, Montana -- just a few miles from my childhood home in the tiny town of Frenchtown.
After a few emails and phone calls, I was fortunate to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of this piece of art. Here's a quick photo journey through that process...
Quotes from PwP are gathered through an online submission form (Click here to add your quote to the tree - Submit your Story). The printed quotes are then torn into leaf shapes using pre-cut templates. I found out this is not as easy as it looks and gained much respect for the 19 volunteers who have donated countless hours to the project to date.
Each quote is placed on a wire mesh leaf and the leaves are then attached to wire branches.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city the metal tree trunk is being fashioned together with the welder using Hadley and Carolyn's sketch as a guide.
In addition to the tree, the artists will present a series of black and white photos with accompanying stories depicting the lives of those with Parkinson's.
There are now just a few weeks until the exhibit opens under the title, "Capturing Moments: Living Life with Parkinson's" in Missoula. The art instillation will be at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, May 9-31, 2016. The tree will then be expanded in height and travel to Portland for the World Parkinson Congress, September 20-23, 2016. There it will become an interactive display, allowing WPC attendees to add their own quotes to garlands that will hang near the tree.
I highly encourage everyone to contribute to this project by submitting your story now. You can also visit the Forging Resilience website to learn more about this and the groups' other projects.