For the past four years I have worked with 5th graders at FAIR School in Crystal as artist in residence for their Perspectives Program. Each fall we install the exhibit, do a presentation for all 85 students and then over several days, I visit each classroom and work with students to explore their own thoughts about peace. They write their ideas in peace journals which we eventually pass on to a crew of artists from Stages Theater who craft the student’s thoughts into a stage performance.
This year we added something new. We asked the students to write their response…in 25 words or less… to the question, “What does peace mean to you?” We set up a portable studio on the stage and photographed each student (and teacher). Then we combined their words and images for a smaller, nimbler version of A Peace of My Mind.
Last week we did it with college students in Illinois. Next week it will be high school students in Ohio and the week after, life term prisoners in Delaware. In December we will use this model at a conference in Baltimore for Everyday Democracy.
It’s a new model that I am excited to explore more fully, but for now, I am simply excited to share some of the results of our time with the folks at FAIR.