Artist invites Yorkers to send dreams into space


Fact: William Chambers wants to get people thinking and dreaming.

Fact: He's come up with one heck of an interesting way to do it.

Beyond that, the Lancaster artist's York-based project is best left to each individual's interpretation. It's a metaphor wrapped in mystery — and Chambers likes it that way.

He wants to send dreams to space.

"In our world today, people don't go to school to dream anymore," Chambers said. "And sometimes, as adults, we're out of practice."

With a grant from the York County Cultural Alliance and a donated storefront at 9 W. Market St., Chambers will spend the next 10 weeks collecting dreams from curious folks who wander through the door.

His project — aptly named Spaceship York — is an art exhibit, a cultural experiment, a community service, a meeting space and a flashback to a time when space travel was, well, a dream.

(Jot down your dream, and Chambers will happily take your picture with an old-time camera. Don't miss the "board of directors" on the wall, several of whom took their positions posthumously. There's even a "space library.")

Chambers said he likes the potential of York City, the sense that this historical place is recreating itself. York is at a turning point, he said, with an undetermined future.

"There's people here thinking really hard about what that can be," Chambers said. "It's not a done deal."

But dreams for York are just some of the dreams scrolled onto papers that hang on Chambers' wall — which already numbered 45 by lunchtime Monday.

Most dreams are deeply personal — "To live a life full of travel and creativity and love."

Some are deeply practical — "Stuff would cost less for everybody."

Some are written by kids — "To have a dog. PS — I hope everyone else's is answered."

On June 1, Chambers will launch these dreams into space.

Sort of.

Unless he gets some help from NASA very soon, Chambers probably won't get anything beyond Earth's atmosphere.

But he is working on a spaceship, and he is hoping to send it — and the dreams — into the sky.

How will he measure success? Chambers said he just wants to create a little magic.

With an assist from technology, he's already achieved success. Chambers has begun uploading photos of his visitors' dreams onto the Spaceship York website at

These dreams have arrived in cyberspace.

— Reach Erin James at