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Wishing Well

What do Chicago kids want for the world? Apparently they want a world full of cats. They want to ride horses to school. They want more art. And they want everybody to get along.

After the success of last year's Yves Behar–designed wreaths, the Art Institute has once again invited a contemporary design team to reinterpret the wreaths for our annual Wreathing of the Lions ceremony, which takes place this Friday at 10 am. Materious, the Chicago-based husband-and-wife firm of Stephanie and Bruce Tharp, has combined the look of traditional North American cranberry wreaths with the hopeful spirit of Buddhist and Taoist wishing trees. (For a sneak peek of what the wreaths will look like, check out Time Out Chicago’s photo slide show.)

In the wishing trees tradition, part of the lunar new year celebration, children throw oranges with attached paper notes over banyan trees. The artists have integrated this custom with traditional Western holiday decorations by incorporating “wishes for the world in 2011,” written by Chicago-area children, into each of the 2011 clear and red plastic spheres that make up the wreaths. Aided by solar power, the wreaths will glow at night, bringing their festive and optimistic feel into the evening hours. But while the wreaths will be a sight to see day or night, these endearing wishes will remain concealed, so we thought we’d share a few of our favorites, above and below, with our loyal blog readers. What's your wish for 2011?

--Jocelin S., Public Affairs and Communications