community peace offering
In 2020, the Peace Studio in Evanston launched the 100 Offerings of Peace Project. The project involved artists from around the world creating original works that reflect what peace means to them. The Peace Studio then "released"n these offerings as a steady stream of online content from July 1 through November 1, 2020 through their social media outlets as a means to share these messages of peace with the world.
The Peace Studio's mission coincides with the YKNA’s mission to use the artistic process to inspire people to consider the everyday actions that they can take to be agents of positive change, thus a collaboration was born. Local artist Indira Johnson, artist and director at Kids Create Change Angela Lyonsmith, Mariana Bojorquez with the Evanston Public Library, and Collette Allen with Family Focus coordinated a community-wide project to engage Evanstonians in the 100 Offerings of Peace Project.
The project involved an invitation to people throughout the community to write of messages of peace onto large leaves, assembling the leaves into "offerings" and floating them down the North Channel towards the lake. This peace offering is rooted in the cultural tradition of coastal societies where a variety of offerings from floating lights to leaves and flowers are sent out into the rivers and seas. These offerings are a ritual of hope and restoration and a prayer for peace.
Creating the Peace Offerings
An open call through the YKNA Advisory Council and a number of community organizations including Family Focus, Open Studio Project, Dear Evanston, Evanston Public Library, Kids Create Change, Evanston Made and others helped to ensure wide participation in this project across the city. We invited Evanston community members to write their wishes for peace on catalpa leaves, which were collected and assembled together in different patterns and floated down the North Channel towards Lake Michigan as an offering of peace put out into the world.
Leaves were made prior to the launch, and a small group of volunteers came together on the day of the launch to assemble the offerings. The offerings created by the assembly of different community members' leaves symbolized the linking of each voice in a way that connects individual experiences to the greater whole of family, community and cosmos. As the pieces would be distributed on the water, all contributions were created from natural materials and and approached with ecological responsibility.
The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the word will know peace.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Releasing the Peace Offerings
On October 4, 2020 between 10am-1pm, the peace offerings were launched from the Dammrich Rowing Center on the Northshore Channel to begin their journey floating towards the lake.
Documentary Video of the Community Peace Offering Project by Harrison Tremarello
The Peace Studio & Year of Kindness and Non-Violent Action Webinar
Peace Mural, Public Art Project, Nashville, TN