The Cradle Project Opens in Santa Cruz

A cradle on a black background The Cradle Project opens at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History next week. It’s the first time this art installation will be shown in California and it’s going to be right here across the street from our office in Santa Cruz. We’re very excited to have the exhibit so close to home.

We’ve been working closely with the great staff of the Museum of Art and History to build a beautiful exhibit that inspires as well as informs. It opens on February 7th and inside the third floor gallery, visitors will see twenty-two cradles made from used and discarded materials by artists from many different parts of the US.

The Cradle Project was created in 2008 by artist Naomi Natale. Natale, an internationally known artist and activist, visited Kenya in 2002. There, she witnessed the far-reaching effects of AIDS and was moved to action. She created The Cradle Project to bring attention to the estimated 12 million children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The exhibit raised $70,000 for Firelight, which went to African communities. The Cradle Project raises awareness not only of the devastating effects of AIDS, but of the inspiring response from African communities.

Visit our Flickr gallery of The Cradle Project to view over 70 cradle photos

Wherever The Cradle Project is shown, local artists are invited to contribute. In Santa Cruz, three artists, Wes Modes, Heidi Cramer and Luke Wilson, will create cradles in community workshops. These cradles will then become part of the exhibit on the 3rd Floor and later auctioned off. The proceeds will go directly to Firelight and our work with African communities. Visitors are also invited to bring an object with the theme of “Childhood and Play” for a Pop-Up Museum to share their story about their youth.

When the exhibit was last displayed in 2012 at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.  Local artists also contributed cradles and some of them will be on display in the Santa Cruz exhibit. When the exhibit leaves Santa Cruz, it will travel to San Francisco to be shown at Alter Space.

Watch Hannah Wides making her cradle in Washington DC

Outside the third floor gallery, materials from Firelight partners will be on display to allow the community to learn more about their work and Firelight’s bottom-up model to support African communities. Materials will also be available for any visitor to make their own cradles from used and found materials available outside the exhibit.

Be sure to join us for the Cradle Project and let us know how it inspires you.

The Cradle Project

February 7th to March 23rd 2014

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & Hisotry

705 Front Street, 3rd Floor


Saturday, February 8th, from 1 – 5 pm

Stories from Africa: discussion with Firelight staff

Cradle making workshop led by local artists

Pop-up Museum (bring your own object!)