Dreaming Big At City Hall

July 23, 2013 |  by  |  Buzz  |  ,


Patterns & fabrics | Photo: Bradley Maule

Patterns & fabrics | Photo: Bradley Maule

For the two months, visitors to City Hall will be stepping into a dream world. In the Northeast stairwell—the visitors entrance—the grand octagonal spiral has added a four-cornered cascading layer of fabric: Dream Flags.

Dream on, dreamers | Photo: Bradley Maule

Dream on, dreamers | Photo: Bradley Maule

Inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and modeled on Himalayan prayer flags, the Dream Flag project started in 2003 as a task for Jeff Harlan’s sixth grade English class at the Agnes Irwin School in Bryn Mawr. After reading Hughes’ dream poetry, students wrote their own dream poems, printed them on cloth, and tied them together, embellished by art. In the ten years since, schools from across the country and globe have written their own dreams and the flags have been exhibited in schools, hospitals, libraries, the Kimmel Center, and Cira Centre.

Stairway of Dreams, the City Hall installation, features the poetry of students from Belize, Zambia, Nepal, Texas, and of course Philadelphia. As the project aims to inspire hope, it’s no coincidence that the installation’s run, through September 27, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28th. (Incidentally, that same day, City Hall will host native son Kurt Vile for a free performance in the Courtyard.)

The installation is coordinated by the Art in City Hall program. Learn more about the Dream Flags Project HERE.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

March 20, 2018  |  News

As modern urban renewal continues to erase African-American history in North Philly, one group works against the odds to preserve a renowned Philadelphia artist's legacy. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

March 19, 2018  |  Vantage

University City District's beautification of the 40th Street Trolley Portal was high on concept, but appears to have fumbled on delivery. Contributor Ann de Forest has the full review > more

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor's Preservation Task Force Meeting

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor’s Preservation Task Force Meeting

March 15, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened today following the release of a draft of a summary of summaries on the state of preservation in Philadelphia. Logistical bickering and sticker activities ensued. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

Remembering Philly's 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

Remembering Philly’s 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

March 13, 2018  |  Vantage

On the eve of the national student walkout honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, Michael Bixler takes a look back at November 17, 1967 when teenage activists demonstrating for equal rights became the target of a violent police attack > more

Oscar's Tavern Still Parties Like It's 1972

Oscar’s Tavern Still Parties Like It’s 1972

March 12, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow saddles up to the bar at Oscar's Tavern where the spirit of "Old Philadelphia" is as effervescent as their lagers > more

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

Back When We Burned Trash On The Delaware River

March 9, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a whirlwind exploration of Philadelphia's notorious garbage problem, starting with the long-gone East Central Incinerator at Penn's Landing and then sailing around the globe before returning to today's trashy situation > more