Peace Room / Make Room for Peace
Created in response to the propaganda and media generated around the globe post 9 -11, I sent questionnaires to people in living in North America, Europe and the Middle East about their visions of peace. A basic belief expressed through the completed surveys was that peace begins within each one of us. With this project I quickly moved from the political to the personal and discovered that inner peace is much more than just the absence of internal conflict. It is an outgrowth of spiritual power from a space within each of us. When we locate ourselves in this place of harmony, our thoughts and actions can move peace out into the world where it has the opportunity to inspire and heal. When we can come together as truly peaceful individuals the capacity to reconcile and to create harmony manifests and a genuine, lasting peace becomes possible. The material that was sent to me by the survey participants, including poetry, prose, images and music was collected into a book that was part of a larger installation that included specially constructed room, a table and individual benches inspired by Shaker design and built by Chicago artist Alan Lerner. The table was set with china, manufactured by a china manufacturer that included peace-centered photographs and text that I authored. The exhibition space was used to discuss the many different definitions of peace and the tangibility of peace within individuals and the collective. Peace Room / Make Room for Peace was published in the Chicago Tribune where readers were asked to contribute their own vision of peace to be designed on their own peace plate. Families, school and church groups, individuals and pairs from across Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana sent in designs. A panel consisting of a peace policy professional, myself, and editors from the Tribune selected the winning designs.