Pamela's ArtPrize Ten (2018) Installation

ArtPrize Ten (2018) Artist

Voted Top 25 in Time-Based

Broken Wings

September 19 – October 7 • Grand Rapids Public Museum

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou
Visitors adding ribbons to Broken Wings installation

65,000 ArtPrize visitors added a band as a promise to start the Butterfly Effect of Kindness

Artist Statement

Recently, we witnessed the historic youth march in D.C., remembered the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High tragedy, and learned about many young people suffering from bullying. Meanwhile, some current solutions only seem to trigger more verbal bullets and D.C. bullying. But to help our kids break out of the cocoon—those who are hurting, isolated, bullied, or struggling with caustic emotions—we all need to help cultivate an environment of safety and peace.

but·ter·fly ef·fect
noun: butterfly effect
The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

The butterfly effect, an alternative scientific theory, challenges us to consider that every action has a reaction. Like the tiny motion from the butterfly's wings, the smallest deed or word has an effect. Every interaction—positive or negative—has the potential to change the course of a child's life.

Limited edition, Broken Wings butterfly prints available

Since Pamela's art is very much collaborative and interactive, we would love for you to be part of this journey. Visit Pamela's Gallery to purchase unique, limited edition silk screen prints to help support Broken Wings and additional works.

The Flight Into Danger

Whitney, a bullied Michigan teen, was voted onto the homecoming court—as a cruel prank. Responding to the negative butterfly effect, she said, “I feel like trash.” She even considered ending her life. But her sister convinced her to prove the kids wrong. When local businesses heard about Whitney's decision to go through with the homecoming, they donated a gown, shoes, and a makeover. She concluded, “I'm not the joke everyone thinks I am.” Whitney ended up transforming her community with the butterfly effect of courage.

Invitation to Respond

To help solve our national problem of bullying and school shootings, what steps can we take to start a positive butterfly effect? Broken Wings invites a response. Like the monarch butterflies clustering on trees to survive, let's work together to safeguard and nurture kids—our beautiful delicate butterflies. Connect a colorful band onto the interactive panels as a commitment to start a butterfly effect and help bring an end to the suffering, chaos, and brokenness. From the broken wings of Columbine, Parkland, and Santa Fe—let's make new choices for a better future. Let's help heal our schools and our nation.

Visitors adding ribbons to Broken Wings installation Visitors adding ribbons to Broken Wings installation Visitors adding ribbons to Broken Wings installation Visitors adding ribbons to Broken Wings installation

Connect a colorful band as a commitment to start a Butterfly Effect where one positive choice impacts another positive choice—to help better our world

We Can Make a Difference

In light of the recent tragic school shootings across America, find out how you can create positive change.

Visitor Responses

“I need to be kind to my little brother.” (7-year-old)

“I would love to see Broken Wings in schools to promote anti-bully behaviors.”

“The Broken Wings exhibit caught my attention as a former teacher. Powerful message for schools and anyone concerned for our growing unkind culture.”

Visitors Start a Butterfly Effect of Kindness

When a child of divorce said, “I'm lonely.” I listened while we sat in my garage. I wasn't in a hurry to get out of our 45-minute conversation.

When a neighbor told me about his past struggle with alcohol, I listened and congratulated him for today's success.

When two kids had a fight in my front yard, I asked them to confess and say “sorry” and to shake hands to forgive.

Tell us your creative solution to end bullying and school shooting #BrokenWings

Interactive School Program – Preschool and Elementary

Broken Wings: Strengthening and Nurturing Our Kids

Children helping with Broken Wings

Broken Wings uses butterflies to foster healing discussions around the topics of bullying and school shootings. Through engaging art, students learn that Monarch butterflies are fragile, but they must also be strong and resilient. Every year these butterflies embark on a dangerous flight from Canada to Mexico. The resources that they so desperately need to survive are not always available, yet many push through and find ways to thrive.

Like the butterflies, our children can be taught to grow resilient wings when dealing with unkind behavior. They can learn to overcome adversity. Broken Wings, an interactive art presentation, encouraging students to respond to bullying with emotional strength and positive choices. The work encourages kids to solve their own social problems and to diffuse negativity through the Butterfly Effect of kindness.

Contact Pamela to schedule an interactive school program.

Children helping with Broken Wings Children helping with Broken Wings Children helping with Broken Wings
The presentation by Ms. Alderman in front of her Broken Wings ArtPrize piece did a beautiful job in supporting our efforts as a class to THINK before you speak or act. The opportunity to become part of the art piece was powerful for many of my fourth grade students. Thank you for the chance to become part of ArtPrize in such a meaningful way!

Maureen Kaczanowski
Southwood Elementary School

Share your #SurvivalStory

Listen to WGVU radio interview with Shelley Irwin…

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Special thanks to Moonlight Graphics, Bridge Street Electric, Marijo Heemstra, Patty Alexander, Jan VanderWall, Kim Seitler-Videto, Bohan Li, Rachel Rinker Tollefson, Kathy Pluymert, Barb Handley, and John Burri for their valuable contributions to Broken Wings.

Moonlight Graphics - Bridge Street Electric

Pamela has been an ArtPrize artist since 2009

Since 2009, ArtPrize, the world's largest open art competition, draws more than 500,000 visitors to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Veteran ArtPrize artist Pamela Alderman has become known for creating a new kind of artist/viewer work that invites audience collaboration. The work invites individuals into the healing process through participatory art. As visitors engage in the art making, small steps toward healing result. Over ten years of ArtPrize, Alderman's interactive installations, including The Scarlet Cord and Hometown Hero, have touched thousands—one person at a time. This healing art involves you—because you matter!

Pamela has been an ArtPrize artist since 2009