Fitton Center to host community dedication for ‘Wings of Hope’ butterfly mural

The Fitton Center will host a mosaic mural dedication for “Wings of Hope” on Tues., Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. “Wings of Hope,” a collaborative, community mosaic mural, will be on permanent display on several exterior columns of the pergola at the Fitton Center. Pictured is Lori Kay Farr, lead artist and project leader. CONTRIBUTED
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The Fitton Center will host a mosaic mural dedication for “Wings of Hope” on Tues., Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. “Wings of Hope,” a collaborative, community mosaic mural, will be on permanent display on several exterior columns of the pergola at the Fitton Center. Pictured is Lori Kay Farr, lead artist and project leader. CONTRIBUTED

Mosaic mural comprised of over 1,000 handmade glass butterflies.

Members of the community and butterfly creators near and far are invited to be a part of the mosaic mural dedication today at The Fitton Center for Creative Arts. The “Wings of Hope” project is on permanent display on several exterior columns of the pergola at the Fitton Center.

Lori Kay Farr, lead artist and project leader for “Wings of Hope” said the project is comprised of 1,026 handmade, glass butterflies from 392 artists from 29 U.S. states and eight different countries including the Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, India and Peru. The initial goal was to create 100 to 200 butterflies.

“Each day as the mail came, we opened up different treasures from different locations. The furthest butterflies came from artist Laxmi Priya in India, who was in triple lockdown…The day things opened up, she ran to the post office immediately, and sent them to us. Those butterflies came from 8,795 miles away from Hamilton, Ohio. That was exciting,” Farr said.

“Wings of Hope” is a mosaic mural made up of tiled butterflies and flowers, set against a blue sky. Visitors will also spot three bumblebees made by mosaic artist Caroline Jariwala and a hidden cicada created by Farr.

Designed to convey a message of hope, Farr said the idea was to have a collection of butterflies made from single-color values, created by different artists from all over the world, and in the United States, including past Fitton Center students, area school students, and through open engagement, which attracted artists from across the globe. No two butterflies are the same.

“Each one has its own personal story. Some have hidden notes written on the back of the butterfly that was only for the artist to see, knowing it was going to be a part of a larger mural. Others came with thoughtful notes. One said, ‘I have been suffering depression because of the lockdown, and this gave me a reason to do something, and it got me back into the studio and producing art again,’” Farr said.

Butterfly artists ranged from participants ages 2 to 92. The youngest artist was Savannah Miller, 2, of Dayton, and the oldest participant was George Farr, 92, of Bowling Green, Ohio. First responders, including members of the Ross Twp. Fire Department also participated in the project.

“Wings of Hope” was a response to the pandemic. Most of the participating artists worked on their individual pieces or butterflies from home, remaining physically distanced, and the butterflies were mailed to Farr. Farr spent several months working on the project at her home studio, creating butterflies, and putting sections of butterflies, flowers and the sky together.

Late in July, the “Wings of Hope” was installed at the Fitton Center by Farr and a team of installation artists – Misha Moore from Lakewood, Colorado and Kim Rexford of Canton, Connecticut, along with Darrin Farr and Brennen Farr, Farr’s husband and son.

“This had such a global reach. It was amazing we reached so far with the wings spread literally across the globe. Artists who participated in ‘Wings of Hope” are from all over the world,” Farr said.

Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center said the Fitton Center also engaged other community partners on the project, including the Hamilton City School District, Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton, Booker T. Washington Community Center, InsideOut Studio, YMCA, and Badin High School.

“From little things, big things grow, and this has really been one of those things. We are incredibly excited. We’re so proud of Lori, all of our artists and partners...Then, through the outreach on the Internet, through Facebook and word of mouth, and the mosaic artist community locally, nationally and internationally, we’ve had these butterflies quite literally flying in from California, New York, Australia, India and Africa, and it’s been amazing to see,” he said.

The dedication will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A cash DORA bar will be available. Wings of Hope is a permanent installation at the Fitton Center. Visitors may take a selfie with “Wings of Hope” in the background and share their photos with the Fitton Center on social media.

“This is an absolutely spectacular piece of art. It really is. Come on down to the Fitton Center. It’s outside on the Monument Avenue pergola. If you made a butterfly, it’s a great chance to come and see it,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.

For more information, and a full list of participants and where they’re from, go to www.fittoncenter.org/wings-of-hope. The Fitton Center is located along the Great Miami River at 101 S. Monument Avenue in downtown Hamilton.