Open Hands: An Interactive and Collaborative Work

March 15 - 18, 2018 • Sidewalks of New York City

May 14 and 21, 2018 • Elementary schools of Denver, Colorado

February 22 - 24, 2019 • Sidewalks of San Francisco

Open Hands—inviting open dialogue and healing action—one hand at a time

Babette's Story

Do you know the fictional story “Babette's Feast” by Isak Dinesen? Babette, once a famous chef, is a refugee, who escapes the French civil war and resettles in Norway. For the next twelve years, she cooks for two devoutly religious sisters—without pay. One day, Babette's financial position changes, so she decides to prepare a lavish feast for the sisters and their neighbors. Overwhelmed by Babette's generous hospitality, the meal helps heal the broken community.

Open Hands, Pamela Alderman, Paper collage panels, 9x4 feet, 2018

Open Hands (Sketch), Pamela Alderman, Paper collage panels, 9x4 feet, 2018

Artist Statement

Where in the world is Open Hands now? While creatively traversing the country, we've been randomly engaging people on the streets with this question: “How would you help heal our broken world?”

Open Hands, inspired by Babette's Feast on stage, first debuted on the streets of New York City in March of 2018. This mobile work continued in Denver area schools and, then in 2019, the spontaneous work showed up on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Where will Open Hands pop up next? Follow us on Instagram to find out and help us reach our initial goal of one thousand handprints for a larger future mural. Imagine the potential of this healing work; each response turned into action could transform a culture that thrives and flourishes.

Meeting strangers and getting hand trace drawings in NYC Meeting strangers and getting hand trace drawings in NYC Open Hands outline drawing

Invitation to Respond

Like Babette, what is one way you could sacrifice for another? To symbolize giving to others, trace your hand on a piece of paper. Then jot a note or a single word on how you can specifically become a healing agent in your broken family or fractured community.

Open Hands in San Francisco

Interactive School Program – Elementary and Middle School

Open Hands: Healing Our Broken World

Elementary students in Denver doing hand trace drawings Elementary students in Denver doing hand trace drawings

Elementary students in Denver doing hand trace drawings

Open Hands, a PowerPoint presentation with an interactive follow-up exercise, challenges students to make positive choices and rethink their responsibilities as global citizens. During the presentation, students learn about a fictional refugee character named Babette. Babette's social status changes, after working years without pay, when she wins the lottery. Instead of choosing a new life of luxury, Babette gives away the entire jackpot to her community through the gift of hospitality.

Babette's example gives students a chance to consider how they can share their resources with others. Following the presentation, students engage in a collaborative art project responding to this question: How can you help fix our broken world?

Contact Pamela to schedule your Interactive School Program.