Call to Artists


In 1987 a small group gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would forget.  This action served as the beginning of the Names Project, also known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  On December 1, 1989 A Day Without Art began as a National Day of Mourning in response to the AIDS Crisis. In 1989 Boston Artists created thousands of 12” x 4” paper prayers in response to a call by Yezerski Gallery. Well-known artists, students, youth, and children did these. In 1992 Medicine Wheel was built in the Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts.  The Medicine Wheel Vigil has become an enduring testimony to HIV/AIDS in our lives. In those early years we were being asked the unimaginable question,

Where would we be without art?  Last year over 300 visual artists and 250 performing artists took part in Day Without Art.  This year our goal is 1000 voices from the artistic community  of Boston, New England and beyond to give testimony and invite reflection on the power of art to help us navigate and facilitate who we are for ourselves and who we can be for one another.

For visual artists: create a 2 foot by 2 foot panel to become part of a mural to line the walls of the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.  The theme for the work is AIR.   The palette is limited to the colors of the sky.

v  Panels are available for pick up at Medicine Wheel 110 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127.

v  We can arrange to deliver panels to you or your groups

v  You can join us at Medicine Wheel beginning Monday October 9th and work on your panel here:

  • Mondays, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Tuesdays, 1:00 pm -9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, 10:00 am -5:00 pm
  • Thursday, 3:00 pm- 7:00 pm
  • Fridays , 9:00 am- 5:00 pm

v  Panels need to be returned to Medicine Wheel by November 24th or to the BCA by noon on November 27th, or call us at 617-268-6700  for pick up

For performing artists: Help us sanctify Medicine Wheel by making an artistic offering of  poetry, song, dance, music or performance.  Each year we invite artists to offer a breathtaking experience to mark each hour of the 24-hour vigil.

For the spiritual community:
Mark one of the 24 hours with a blessing, prayer, ritual or meditationFor the public:  Join us and cast your hand to create a spiral of interlocking hands to honor our connections. Vigil begins at 11:30 pm, Thursday 11/30/17 and goes for the full 24 hours of Friday 12/01/17

For more info call 617-268-6700 or 617-872-6065

Or email

Hand Made Journals

18342354_10211401035516459_2854236885145313315_nBuy a journal today to support youth employment at Medicine Wheel
 for our S.P.U.N. (Silent People Until Now)  program and our Daniel  Morrison Full time employment program for young adults
Handmade Journals with marbleized paper, linen thread and knotweed.


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Thank You


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Turning the Wheel



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Two Medicine Wheel Projects,  were named as among the 15 best Public Art Projects of 2016!

“South of Hy-Brasil,” by Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile

Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile's "South of Hy-Brasil" floats in Boston's Back Bay Fens. (Greg Cook/WBUR)

Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile’s “South of Hy-Brasil” floats in Boston’s Back Bay Fens. (Greg Cook/WBUR)

Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile’s “South of Hy-Brasil” floats in Boston’s Back Bay Fens. (Greg Cook/WBUR)
Gazing down Boston’s Back Bay Fens, it emerged from between the trees — a mysterious concoction of fabric and plywood and thatch, resembling maybe an overturned boat or some sort of shell-cottage.

In fact it was a sculpture, temporary floating in the lagoon behind Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts this fall. It was inspired by Hy-Brasil, an island that began appearing in maps of Ireland’s west coast in the 14th century — but perhaps not in reality. Connected with the Irish belief in Tír na nÓg — the “otherworld” or “land of eternal youth” — it was an elusive place, said to appear only once every seven years, shrouded in mist.

“It would come and go like a mirage,” visiting Irish artist Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile explained. “It would appear and disappear. They couldn’t find it.”

“Medicine Wheel,” by Michael Dowling and friends

The 25th annual Medicine Wheel procession began at Boston City Hall, which was lit red for the occasion. (Greg Cook/WBUR)

The 25th annual Medicine Wheel procession began at Boston City Hall, which was lit red for the occasion. (Greg Cook/WBUR)

It was raining at 11 on the night of Dec. 1 as about 30 people gathered under the overhang of Boston City Hall, the concrete building lit all in red (taking advantage of the new, outdoor LED lighting that debuted at the structure in October), to begin the 25th annual “Medicine Wheel” vigil to remember the millions of people lost to AIDS.

“In the early years, artists marked this day to hold the human heart, to hold the human condition,” Boston artist Michael Dowling, who founded the event, said to launch this year’s 24-hour vigil. It began with a solemn lantern procession and dancing from City Hall to the Boston Center for the Arts, where a monumental shrine was set up in the Cyclorama.

“I’m 62 years old. Of my generation, one in four of us died from AIDS,” Dowling said. “I’ve always believed art is the thing that guides us through those difficult times, and those wonderful times.”

WBUR article by Greg Cook