PEACE + PROJECTS

mandala peace project

The Mandala Peace Project was designed to reach all women, men and children who attend programs at Mercy Center in the South Bronx of NYC. Its primary goal was to introduce hundreds of people who live below the poverty line in the poorest urban congressional district in the country, to the transformative power of art and self-expression. Over 240 people participated in the workshops directed toward self-awareness and self-reflection, influenced by the participant’s cultural heritage and hopes and dreams for a better future. At the heart of the project is the belief that art can nurture families; bringing them unity, security, joy and peace. The project was sponsored by the Susan K. Black Foundation.

earth day mandalas

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22nd celebrated worldwide in over 193 countries involving over 1 billion people to support protecting the environment. In honor of Earth Day, every student at Dwight-Englewood School created an Earth Day Mandala. Mandalas appear in all aspects of life: the celestial circles of the earth, sun, and moon, as well as circles of friends, family, and community and are found in cultures and religions around the world. Most have 4 quadrants with a center point and often establish a sacred space while being created. All grades from PK3 through Grade 5 were assigned a specific sci­ence-themed animal group that are endangered to inspire their designs.

peace by piece project

Peace by Piece is an ongoing global community art project and traveling exhibition composed of individual canvases depicting expressions of peace. Created after 9/11, the aim of the project is to awaken a compassionate heart in all who participate and view it. Participants, most of whom are not artists, have such varied backgrounds in age, ethnicity, nationality and economic status. It has had over 45 traveling exhibitions in neighborhood centers, schools, houses of worship, conferences, camps and health centers. Each community customizes the use of the exhibition to reinforce their own programs in a one day event or a more long-term program. Many people have sat inside the structure to hold discussions or to simply be inspired by what others have expressed. The project promotes the importance of art and peace and its integral place in our lives.

south bronx portraits from above

Each face, each person, each family matters at Mercy Center, located in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, the poorest urban congressional district in the USA. Along with filmmakers Nancy Stern and Lisa Lax, we photographed many of the women, men and children. The portraits are mounted on ceiling tiles and displayed through the Center.

Over 650 people come through the doors of Mercy Center per week. All eyes look upward

at the faces providing a visual inspiration of hope and empowerment.

mandala rock project

Students from Our Lady of Mt Carmet in Tenafly, NJ, from 11 grade levels between ages 3 to 15, participated in a schoolwide art project. River rocks were painted with symmetrical mandala designs. More than a simple circle shape, mandalas represent wholeness and a structure of life itself that reminds us of our relationship to the infinite. Later all the rocks were exhibited in one unifying group installation from over 270 students.

peace + unity school programs

Peace themed programs in schools are often aligned with mission statements, academic goals and character development programs. Dwight-Englewood School in NJ has at the heart of its mission statement, the desire for their students to be a community of learners who seek excellence, honor integrity and embrace diversity. D-E Peace + Unity Program involved the entire elementary school from PK3 to Gr5. The goal was to find ways to help students see their commonalities and differences as a means of appreciating both through art, reading and science. The program culminated with a “mindful” assembly and exhibition experience.

the right to dream workshop

Each women depicted in these self-portraits began the art workshop at Mercy Center in the South Bronx by discussing fear. Quickly their sharing transformed into hope and a resolute declaration that everyone has the right to dream! A singular word chosen by each participant was torn from the dictionary to add dimension to  individual collages.  At the core of this workshop was the inherent belief that we all need self-expression and that fear can be transformed into empowerment.

peace + art + dance exhibition

As part of a district-wide Peace By Piece program, ‘Open Hands for Peace’ involved seven school districts in Bergen County, NJ. Over 1200 students participated in school-wide art and social justice programs. One aspect of the project partnered children in NJ with children from Ghana, West Africa, fostering a global awareness of the power of expression. Ultimately the students expressed their voices about peace through various art forms; drawing, painting, writing and dance.

peace honduras 49

Inspired by the global community art project, Peace by Piece, the art installation is comprised of 49 resin boxes influenced by the rainbow Peace Flag. When I created

this artwork my objective was to re-imagine peace and unify visually the inspirational weavings of women from Honduras and the South Bronx. Each box is made with acrylic paint, resin, paper, laser prints and wood. It is on permanent display at Vanguard Surgical Center in Maywood, NJ, to promote wellness and peace.

 

united nations international women’s day

Communities of women from Honduras where connected with women in the South Bronx from the Honduran diaspora through art workshops to create panels for the

Peace By Piece project. Initially the participants started circular weavings with wire and kite string in the rural countryside of Honduras. Half-way completed, they were sent

back to the women in the South Bronx who finished the weavings and painted the frames. Their art panels were displayed in the United Nations NGO office of Mercy

Center during International Women’s Day.

 

water essence program

For one trimester students in Tenafly, NJ, executed water themed art lessons revolving around the preciousness of water. The care and protection of our natural resource was at the heart of the entire program. Students were introduced to the global statistics about too much or too little water, and the shifting tides of our planet earth. The final exhibition was streams of "paper" water strips hung on a metal frame that encompassed all the works of watercolor paintings of abstractions and landscapes, clay fish and collages.