QUEENS — Kew Gardens may be thousands of miles from Tibet, yet its tradition of prayer flags inspired a summer project in the Queens neighborhood.
Residents are currently working on their prayer flags as part of the project, which the organizers say engages them emotionally and makes them a better community.
Traditionally, Tibetan prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers written on the flags will be blown by the wind to spread good will around the world.
The Kew Gardens project is the brainchild of Jill Resnick, 37, a social worker and a mother of two children, who lives in the neighborhood.
“I think of it as a great opportunity for us to do something creative together but also as a collaborative activity that is very thoughtful and fruitful,” said Resnick. “It’s also pretty easy and fun engaging activity, a good summer project.”
The Kew Gardens Improvement Association provides those interested with an 8 x 10 inch piece of muslin which residents decorate the way they want. They also writing their wishes of peace to the world.
The flags will be later attached to each other and presented to the public during a community art event on Sept. 22.
Resnick, who moved to Kew Gardens after living in Massachusetts for a couple of years, said she conducted a similar project with children after 9/11, as a reaction to what happened. The exercise, she said, engaged the kids.
After residents receive the supplies, they are asked to find a quiet place and think of the wishes they want to send to the world. After sketching their ideas, they have to decide what materials they will use.
The organizers also suggest that prompts like “I hope…,” “I wish…,” “What I can do…,” can help people form ideas.
Some residents already completed their flags during a recent art event in the neighborhood. Organizers of the project, which is funded by the Citizens Committee for NYC, said they had received almost 40 flags.
Many participants expressed wishes for peace and hope in the world, Resnick said.
“Maybe something organic can happen where we move forward on one of those wishes as a community and start something bigger,” she added.
Resnick said she hopes that at least around 100 flags will be made. After displaying them during the September event, she said she hopes the flags can be hung in local businesses and become a permanent part of the community.
Those interested in participating can pick up flags and other supplies at La Moda Custom Tailors at 80-61 Lefferts Blvd. (Sundays through Thursdays; ask for Michael). The flags can also be returned there. (718) 805-6600.