Almost exactly 5 years ago, this image, Peace Please, by Mark Acetelli, helped launch The Peace Project with our first Annual Call for Artists. Since then 3,000 artists from 60 countries have submitted their art, helping to generate funds and awareness and giving us the momentum to change tens of thousands of lives in Africa and the Philippines. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better five year plan.
I’m thrilled that amidst the change that is currently coming at a rapid pace in the United States, we’ve opened our 6th Annual Call for Artists. But even as I write this, I reflect on the fact that last year at this time, the siege in Gaza was happening. One year later, little has changed in that region except tension and bitterness have increased on both sides of the border as have piles of rubble from broken homes and dreams. There are countless other conflicts happening worldwide — stealing lives and futures from people of all ages and making it clear that, now, more than ever, we can’t afford to be idle. We must continue saying yes to peace, continue taking action, and continue walking forward with love and unity towards a more just world where there is more abundance for all.
With that in mind, I invite you to visit www.thewhole9.com/thepeaceproject to learn more and submit your art. All pieces submitted will be represented in a traveling exhibit that will open at Culver City’s Affair of the Arts and will then make stops throughout the United States. Just as important, proceeds from the Call for Artists and sales from the traveling exhibit will help fund The Peace Project’s life-changing work. In August, we’ll bring skills training to the community center we’ve recently completed in the Philippines which is the next step in transforming the tragedy of Typhoon Yolanda into an opportunity for the citizens of Tabunok. I’m also thrilled to share that we’re beginning design work on a Peace Center in Sierra Leone. The Peace Center will be a healing and meditation center that will change lives through psychosocial counseling and skills training and will be adjacent to the Slaughter House in the Kailahun District, one of the most infamous sites of violence during Sierra Leone’s recent Civil War.
Our work over the past five years has taught me many things, but the one that I live with every day is the reality that if we come together in community and use our creativity, we CAN change the world.
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