Yume Tree Dedicated to Laurie Siegel on Its Tenth Anniversary

Kris Swanson of The Corner Store

Kris Swanson of The Corner Store

Councilmember Tommy Wells Recalled the First Dedication Ten Years Ago

Councilmember Tommy Wells Recalled the First Dedication Ten Years Ago

The Yume Tree

The Yume Tree

David Weiner of the "21 Gessford Court Players" Remembered Siegel in the Lyrics to "Forever Young"

David Weiner of the “21 Gessford Court Players” Remembered Siegel in the Lyrics to “Forever Young”

Yume Tree Dedicated to Laurie Siegel on Its Tenth Anniversary

by Larry Janezich

The Yume Tree on the north wall of the CVS at 12th and E Streets, SE, turned ten last week.  Yesterday, the Corner Store – Kris Swanson’s and Roy Mustelier’s non-profit community art studio and performance space at 9th and South Carolina Avenue, SE – hosted an anniversary party to dedicate the community wall sculpture to Laurie Siegel.  Kris Swanson, who  conceived of the Yume Tree,  spoke movingly of fused glass artist and award winning Watkins School art teacher Siegel – who succumbed to cancer in July – as one of her strongest allies in the project.  Swanson recounted the story of how she was inspired to begin the work and how the tree came into being, crediting many in the community who played critical roles in overcoming obstacles to make it a reality.

Swanson was followed by Councilmember Tommy Wells who praised the interactive quality of the sculpture and remembered his participation as a DC School Board Member with Swanson and Siegel in the original dedication ceremony ten years ago.

The Yume (you/me) Tree is a neighborhood art project involving more than a thousand children, hundreds of Capitol Hill neighbors, and several elementary schools.  The 28 by 14 foot mosaic of tiles and cut mirror reflects the sky, garden and trees of Watkins Elementary school across the street.  The three inch tiles making up the trunk, roots, and branches of the tree were made and signed by school children.  Siegel helped Swanson develop Yume Tree and fired and glazed hundreds of the first clay tiles.  Messages to the community and commemorative tiles from donors form the landscape out of which the tree emerges.  Swanson points to it as an example of how the power of collective action can transform and beautify a neighborhood.  The work is an ongoing process and continues to grow and evolve on a regular basis as new name and sponsorship tiles are added.

Music for the dedication was provided by the “21 Gessford Court Players,” led by David Weiner.  The group played Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” in memory of Siegel.  Weiner, calling Dylan “the poet who spoke for our generation,” said that the lyrics could have been spoken by Siegel. (See below)

Donations to the Corner Store Roots & Dreams Fund help maintain the tree and add the next generation of name and sponsorship tiles to the project.  Contact:

webmaster@cornerstorearts.org

Corner Store Roots & Dreams

900 South Carolina Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20003

202 544 5807

The Corner Store Website can be found here: cornerstorearts.org.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always

May your wishes all come true

May you always do for others

And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars

And climb on every rung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous

May you grow up to be true

May you always know the truth

And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous

Stand upright and be strong

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy

May your feet always be swift

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful

And may your song always be sung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Yume Tree Dedicated to Laurie Siegel on Its Tenth Anniversary

  1. judyleaver

    Larry,
    this is such a moving tribute–and, I didn’t even know Laurie. It is hard to describe the poignancy of reading this while I’m traveling in France. A touch of home….thanks!

  2. sally f swanson

    Only wish I cuold have been there. Congratulations ! 10 years—-and what a wonderfully amazing person ,who so deserved to have this special anniversery of the Yume Tree dedicated to her, Laurie, so missed. Love Mom