The Wishing Tree

Monday, 15 September 2014

Installation of the North Adelaide Wishing Tree

“Write a wish, seal it in a bottle and place it on the Wishing Tree.”

This simple instruction drew hundreds of responses from visitors on North Adelaide’s Melbourne Street, to get involved in thinking about the future of the area. The wishes were collected on tags, placed in recycled plastic bottles which formed part of a temporary public installation on the corner of Melbourne and Jerningham Street.

The concept involved interactive illumination at night, as branches of the tree supported bottles with LEDs programmed to respond to the proximity, and touch, of a visitor. The illumination was a subtle but beautiful element, itself designed in response to community requests to have more illumination in certain areas. Although the installation was temporary it fulfilled an important role in providing a public outcome of the Community Arts in Place program.

The North Adelaide Wishing Tree was one of two projects conceived in July 2014 through the program, which is an initiative of the Adelaide City Council, and involved training and mentorship of fifteen artists interested in developing skills and experience in Community Art. The Community Arts in Place learning program was facilitated by artists Sandy Elverd and Cindi Drennan. The workshops were unique in their focus on active learning; as well as receiving relevant knowledge and practical skills, appropriate for inclusion on a CV, the participating artists engaged with real communities as part of their training and developed a community arts proposal for Adelaide City Council, for delivery in the North Adelaide and South East areas of the city.

The North Adelaide Wishing Tree project invited the local North Adelaide community to voice their ideas, dreams and plans surrounding the future of the Melbourne Street area. These ‘wishes’ were placed into plastic bottles, and later hung and illuminated in a ‘wishing tree’ along Melbourne Street.