"Now our community of Certified Intentional Creativity© Facilitators has created many versions and names for this process, now around the world in all kinds of venues. It is so exciting to see public participatory art."
Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Founder of Intentional Creativity©
History of The Intention Tree
In 2017 the Intentional Creativity© Foundation was invited to create a collaborative interactive art exhibit to create community at Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco, CA. Intentional Creativity© Co-Founder Shiloh Sophia McCloud considered, how could we create an experience for thousands and thousands of people, that truly had an impact individually as well as collectively and visually to create experiential, coherent connection of the event? The idea of a collaborative work of art, where any and all participants could participate gave rise to “The Witness Tree”, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life.
Yet this goes deeper as well, because there is a quantum reality behind the message. When people approach the tree, in the model we used at this gathering and others, participants are invited to write a single word intention on a leaf. Distilling the intention into one word discovers the essence and empowerment in the intention. Participants write their word, are witnessed in saying it aloud, and then add it to the tree and so it can be read by others. This creates a resonance of connection with each leaf holding special power in creating the whole.
Kerry Lee, The Alchemical Artist, and 2013 graduate of the Intentional Creativity© Teacher Training Program assisted Shiloh for the birth of The Witness Tree at Wisdom 2.0 and was absolutely inspired. “After each leaf was firmly in place on the tree, a Guild member, a colorfully dressed artist representing the global Intentional Creativity© Guild of teachers, asked the participant one at a time, without the pomp and circumstance of a large crowd, or line of people to state their declaration on “what they were here to cause and create” out loud.
For many participants the inquiry and the witnessing was unexpected. I saw eyes grow large, big gulps of air swallowed, and slow smiles emerge as the participant recognized a part of declaring was giving their voice to their wish, idea or dream. Some were quick and ready, and some wanted to come back later after thinking about it. Some were there searching for exactly what they are here on earth to cause and create, and some were focused, sure and on a mission. For many, tears welled in their eyes and courage had to be summoned before being able to speak their truths out loud. All felt something had shifted after being witnessed, and many told a story to go with their part. Hugs and gratitude came easily.
"We encouraged each participant to remember that if we each held our own piece, simply what they had written on their leaf, all the meaningful declarations would amount to something much greater. Especially as action followed in the coming hours, days, weeks and months. Many came back to “visit” or share their leaves with others as the event progressed"
The Alchemical Artist
From there Kerry Lee was selected to be one of eight artists for the new “Artists Alley” in a redeveloping section of Napa, California. She painted the first mural a 4x6 meter version. The inquiry for this public artwork is “How do you help improve the world?” One-word answers were submitted via social media and then painted on to the branches of the tree. During the April 2018 Street Festival and Unveiling event participants wrote their names on leaves, again adding them to the tree and being witnessed.
Kerry Lee has gone on to create “The Intention Tree” with the inquiry of “How do you help the world?” on a traffic signal box for a city beautification program in Benicia, CA, “The Vine of Intention” mural asking “How do you feast it forward?” (pay it forward in service) at lifestyle networks channel Feast It Forward in Napa, CA, the “Grains of Intention” mural asking “What nourishes your soul?” at One House Bakery in Benicia, CA and “You are the Dream Weavers” mural in the newly renovated library at Benicia High School where the inquiries changes as the environment around the students and the world shifts. Students will write their one-word answers and add them to brightly colored dream catchers on the wall. Kerry Lee is also working with the school’s art students to paint brightly colored feathers throughout the library.
Additional versions of this interactive experiential public artwork known as “The Witness Tree” were used at a Center for Spiritual Living convention and art gallery grand openings. “The Wellness Tree” was created for a Health and Wellness Expo, as a “Sun Spiral” for a Body Mind Spirit Festival. Other forms of the same concept have been used as “The Promise Tree” at wedding ceremonies and as “Seeds of Hope” for a community grief ritual after the California Fires of 2018.
Kerry Lee and The Intention Tree
Rosie Mac and Kerry Lee's Chance Meeting
A chance encounter in 2013 on Facebook with newly graduated Intentional Creativity© Teacher Denise Daffara of Australia and subsequent introduction to Kerry Lee, exposed Rosie Mac to Intentional Creativity. Kerry Lee had won a “President’s Club” award corporate trip to Christchurch for 2014 and where Denise and Kerry Lee also wanted to teach. They were looking for a venue. Rosie picked up the thread and approached The Drawing Room. Owner Paul Wyke and his staff were enthusiastic about the possibility of having international teachers bring something new to their creative space, and once Kerry Lee's trip was confirmed, they rolled out the "red carpet" with the two “Meet Your Inspirational Muse” workshops that sold out within hours and Paul gave them an open invitation to come back and teach any time.
With much conversation between Rosie Mac and Kerry Lee while Kerry Lee and her daughter Rosie were staying in Rosie’s home, Rosie Mac discovered what the missing piece in her own artwork was. This method of art had heart, and she was completely captivated by its mystery and magic. She described it as being an aha moment when the light went on!
Rosie Mac, Certified Intentional Creativity© Facilitator and Artist from Christchurch, New Zealand witnessed her friend in California create five murals in less than a year and asked herself, “How can I contribute to my community?” The idea for having an Intention Tree mural in Christchurch was born.
Rosie then asked Kerry Lee if she would consider coming back to Christchurch to paint with her. Kerry Lee said “YES!”, but I didn't take it seriously. Rosie had been healing from a head injury for the past two and a half years and her Intentional Creativity© work hadn’t been able to take the forefront for her. However Rosie was very serious about the possibility of having an Intention Tree mural in Christchurch and went to a “Meet The Councilor” invitation on Facebook to ask how she could make it happen. Christchurch City Councilor Vicki Buck was enthusiast about the concept and photos Rosie showed her of Kerry Lee’s Intention Tree mural in Napa. Vicki then put Rosie in contact with The Enliven Places Program Team, who also put her in contact with Christchurch Central Business Association Manager, Paul Lonsdale.
In December 2018, funding for the mural was approved by Council, and sponsorship for Kerry Lee’s travel was secured with SPARK. Rosie has also secured sponsorship from Resene Paints NZ Ltd, for the paint and accessories required to complete the mural.
“Rosie Mac and I are very excited to bring this beautiful, meaningful interactive experiential mural to the residents and visitors at Christchurch where the seven trees can provide insightful moments for many years to come. Our dreams are to have these murals throughout the world!”
The Alchemical Artist