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'Paper Prayers' at UMass Lowell: art for a cause

By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. By NANCYE TUTTLE Sun Staff

The tradition of Paper Prayers is one of the more lovely art customs to capture attention in recent years. Derived from Japanese practice of offering colorfully decorated strips of paper as a prayer for good health and well being, they are a compassionate gesture, given anonymously to those who are less fortunate.

The UMass Lowell Art Department and the College of Arts and Sciences will host an exhibit and sale of Paper Prayers from Nov. 7 to Dec. 7 in the Dugan Art Gallery, Dugan Hall Basement Art Studios, Broadway Street, South Campus.

Proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Boston Pediatric AIDS Project and the Sept. 11th Funds.

The tradition began locally several years ago at the Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston in conjunction with World AIDS Day. Since then, it has grown to involve many regional art galleries.

In the project, 4-inch X 12-inch strips, featuring a variety of handcrafted media from collage, painting and poetry to photography and computer-generated imagery, are hung vertically around the walls of the gallery. They create a colorful presentation of artistic expression and a collective display of unity for the chosen cause.

Prayers are purchased with a small donation.

Organizers have invited all to participate by donating handmade prayers prior to and throughout the exhibit or by purchasing prayers during that time.

Paper Prayers may be submitted c/o UMass Art Dept., 71 Wilder St., SU 126, Lowell 01854. Drop-off boxes will also be available in the O'Leary and Lydon Libraries.

Local artists from the Brush Art Gallery, Ayer Lofts Gallery and Whistler House Museum of Art are invited to participate by donating prayers for a silent auction to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 3-6 p.m., which is also the official reception time for the exhibit.

Dugan Gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment. Call Michele Auger, gallery coordinator at 978-934-3491 or the Art Department at 978-934-3494 for further information.