Saturday, November 27

Ignite Studio at Hamilton East Public Library to host asian-inspired “ema” project during “Season of Gratitude”

A collaborative program between artist Jeannette Pomeroy Parssi and Ignite Studio at Hamilton East Public Library Fishers will offer participants a chance to create and share encouraging messages with others. The project is free and open to the public

Photos courtesy of Hamilton East Public Library.
Participants will be invited to create encouraging and uplifting messages, which will be shared with the community.

“Our project is fashioned after the Japanese ema,” explained Ms. Pomeroy Parssi, “a tradition where someone writes a personal wish or creates a small work of art, and hangs it with other encouraging messages on a special board.”  The project will be housed at Ignite Studio and be available to anyone who wishes to participate.  The project is free and open to the public.

Starting Nov. 1, everyone is invited to get things started with their own messages of gratitude and well wishes. A reception is scheduled for Nov. 13, 10 a.m. – noon and 1-4 p.m. at Ignite Studio, with complimentary refreshments and an invitation to those in attendance to contribute with their own messages.

The ema project will be active during Hamilton East Public Library’s “Season of Gratitude,” an annual tradition that will be celebrated this season beginning in November. The Season of Gratitude programming encourages participants to focus on the positive things in their lives.

As a member of the teaching staff at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, Pomeroy Parrsi said she has seen firsthand how people of all ages enthusiastically embraced this sort of effort. “The joy that comes from offering encouragement to others while being given total artistic freedom is both satisfying and rewarding for everyone involved.”

As for the types of message she hopes to see, Pomeroy Parssi said, “perhaps the message will be a remembrance for a loved one who has passed and encouragement for those left behind; joyful expectations for a newborn baby; words of encouragement for a family member setting off on a new adventure. It’s really up to the individual.”


A large and securely positioned freestanding board will be decorated and placed in the common area at Ignite Studio; large enough to hold many messages yet accessible so visitors can see and read each message.

The board will be fitted with multiple hooks or pins, where participants will hang their ema. Participants will be given the freedom of writing an encouraging and uplifting message (aimed at the community in general, or tailored to a specific individual or event).  Participants may also create visual messages, or may add a visual element to the back side of their ema.


In ancient Japanese culture, the ema were typically destroyed in ritual fires at the end of each year. “Our ema,” said Pomeroy Parssi, “will not meet the same fate.  At the conclusion of the project, all ema will be turned into digital images, and volunteers will assemble the entire collection into a book, which will be available to view for free online.”

This project is funded by a grant from the City of Fishers through the Fishers Arts + Culture Commission, part of a new program aimed at nurturing creative partnerships within the Fishers arts community.

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