Jenna Knapp: Labyrinth Society of Lynden Sculpture Garden


After a long history with the sculpture garden itself, I am excited to return with a chance to reflect on the past couple of years through the creation of a labyrinth and by establishing an accompanying society. Lynden embodies a certain innocence for me personally. It reminds me of a time before loss and trauma took over my life in June of 2015, a period that lasted until December of 2016. It holds me accountable for remembering who I was before that chapter. And how I am capable of being in control of my healing.

The first labyrinth I walked was at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, the summer of my first mental health hospitalization. According to that particular hospital’s rules and regulations, if you gained permission and trust, you would be granted thirty minutes of outdoor time each day. One of the outdoor activities was walking the labyrinth on the grounds. It became a significant form of meditation that I did both solo and, at times, with groups. One of my fondest memories was of holding hands in a circle with three other patients as we announced what we were going to do differently after being discharged. Even though our lives were steeped in turmoil as we experienced what many would consider their lowest low as inpatients of a psychiatric unit, anything felt possible at the center of that circle.

This experience has inspired me to create a labyrinth for Lynden. With the help of Lynden staff and the community, I will be creating a five-circuit walking labyrinth with only one way in and one way out. As you walk the path you make a 180-degree turn each time you enter a new circuit. As you change your direction you shift your awareness from right brain to left, inducing a meditative state of consciousness. Unlike mazes, labyrinths are comprised of one simple path with no blocks or dead ends, but instead a center that becomes an end and a beginning. The center is a space for meditation, prayer, reflection, release, and intention setting. A charged container for anything you may be carrying.

Nestled away from Lynden’s formal lawn, this labyrinth will be carved into the tall grasses of the native prairie and will evolve with the seasons, peaking in the early fall when the field is bright with goldenrod. Help us bring the labyrinth to life by joining the Labyrinth Society of Lynden Sculpture Garden. Members participate in society meetings, ground preparations, prairie preservation, and, of course, they can be among the first to walk the completed path come spring—and then over and over again.

We will be posting more information on work days, public programming, and the labyrinth plan as this project evolves. We welcome your input, involvement, and excitement.

About the Artist

Jenna Knapp is an artist, author, curator, and community arts organizer living and working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Knapp graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since graduating Knapp has received the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for Emerging Artists, been a guest at international multidisciplinary residency programs in Amsterdam and London, and exhibited locally and nationally. She self-published her first book, I Kept Things I Did Not Need, in the summer of 2017. It is a collection of poetry, prose, photographs and archived material addressing the subjects of grief, loss, survival, and the different evolutions of healing. She continues making work and hosting events relating to mental health and self-love through her current projects; The Self Care Studio and SQUASH Seasonal Support Group. For more information:

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