Peg Carlson-Hoffman

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Peg Carlson-Hoffman is co-director of Holden Village with her husband, Chuck Hoffman. Holden is a faith-based intentional community nestled in a remote valley of Washington’s North Cascades, accessible by a 30-mile boat ride and a 10-mile gravel road. Peg and Chuck create art around conflict and healing. They lead creativity workshops with people who have historically experienced conflict as a way to build relationships.

“The beauty of art has always been that it doesn’t use words. The visual arts give us another way to communicate without actually having to talk to each other.”

When Chuck and I started working in conflict resolution, we had an opportunity to paint a very large painting, and we did not have time for either one of us to do it by ourselves. We painted it together, and we found the painting didn’t look like what Chuck would paint and it didn’t look like what I would paint. It looked like a third thing—something that neither one of us could have come up with on our own. We had a moment of, “Oh my gosh, that’s what it means to have some sort of resolution.”

In a way, that’s what peace means. It’s not a compromise, it’s a new idea. It’s something totally different. When we direct here at Holden, we have Chuck’s ideas about what we should be doing, and we have my ideas about what we should be doing. Usually, neither one of those is just right. We work together and get all of our information on the table, and it’s usually a third idea that is the most amazing. It happens with people, it happens in artwork, and it happens any time people come together and really share their hearts.

Peg Carlson-Hoffman short audio clip

Peg Carlson-Hoffman full audio 

Discussion Questions

  • How do you communicate other than through words? What is your favorite way of communicating?
  • What is the closest you’ve come to living in a community? What has community living taught you?
  • Peg talks about the value of collaborating with others and producing an idea or product that is different than any single person would have thought of. What experiences have you had that are similar to this? Do you prefer working with others or by yourself? What is the value in both?
  • How does your understanding of peace compare with Peg’s thought that it is something that needs to be nurtured?
  • Do you think of peace more on a worldwide level or a personal level?

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