“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
– Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (1883), written on
The Statue of Liberty
“I will build a great wall— and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me— and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
– Donald Trump, Candidacy Speech (June 2015)
Here’s a question:
The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is almost 2000 miles long. Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?
A welcome blanket is traditionally created to lovingly mark the arrival of a new person into the world. In the Welcome Blanket project, each handmade blanket is a physical manifestation of this celebration of new refugees and other immigrants: “Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived.”
We want you to join us! Make a blanket and share your story as a gift to a new immigrant to the United States.
If a 40”x 40” throw blanket averages 1200 yards, Welcome Blanket requires about 3200 blankets to reach 2000 miles of length.
The blankets you make, along with your enclosed notes, will be displayed together in an inaugural show at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago beginning July 18 through December 17. After the show's close, the blanket packages will be distributed to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations.