Workshop Description
Home Up Project Background Photo Metamorphosis Participation Response About Jeffrey Schrier Workshop Description Related Works


WINGS of WITNESS is a massive project of memory and creativity, which uses an art form to foster human decency, and to build a prodigious community of participants.  Through the environmentally based activity of recycling millions of tabs into these monumental works of art, Schrier's work continues. JOIN THE WINGS OF WITNESS STUDIO WITHOUT WALLS, by bringing project workshops to your community.

Wings of Witness - Evolution



The program begins with a 30 minute (auditorium) presentation tracing the origin of the project to its roots in the Holocaust.

After a brief introduction to the Holocaust, I acquaint the students with the activity of Raoul Wallenberg, and I describe how my research for the Wallenberg memorial commissioned by the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in LA, led to my conception of WINGS of WITNESS. I narrate a powerful story told to me by Wallenberg’s (then) young photographer, a hero in his own right.

Ideas of humans as symbol makers are explored; language, alphabets, and the arts, as a way of leading up to how discarded can tabs can numerically represent lost lives destroyed by inhumanity. How the project relates to the victimization of other minorities at other times in history dovetails with the environmental aspect of the project; the recycling of soda can tabs, transforming waste to meaning.


For the subsequent 40 minute hands on workshops, the students adjourn to a workspace with tables and chairs. The workshops can be scheduled back-to-back 50-150 students each, depending on availability of adult support. Adult helpers with teachers are needed in a ratio of 8 per 50 participants. I demonstrate to the students and helpers how the tab feathers are to be constructed. Students, working in pairs, receive a baggie filled with tabs and an aluminum wire. The students string the tabs onto their wire in a manner similar to stringing beads. While the students work, I demonstrate to the adult helpers the method of weaving rods through the columns of tabs that the students are making. The adults receive partially completed feathers to practice on. As the students complete the stringing of the tabs, the trained adult helpers fan out and assist each pair of students, demonstrating how to weave the rods through the wired columns of tabs, so the students can complete the "feathers" on their own.

To recognize workshop participants, signatures are collected on pages displayed at project exhibitions. Empty baggies are refilled with loose tabs for upcoming workshops. Completed feathers are counted and packed into cartons. Participants are asked for responses. Students who elect to create their own works of art in response (visual art, poems or short stories) may have that work chosen for inclusion in the project web site or in upcoming exhibits. The completed feathers are shipped for storage until the subsequent project installation.

On-Site Construction of WINGS of WITNESS:

Schools participating in workshops are offered the opportunity of sending students to the venue where WINGS of WITNESS is to be assembled. Thus, students can have the direct experience of helping to build the memorial at the exhibition site.