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GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE

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Oceanside woman promotes peace through murals (US)
an article by North County Times

Across the country, people horrified and heartbroken by the school shooting in Connecticut have channeled their sympathy in myriad ways, such as sending donations and cards or organizing memorial walks and online tributes.


Dylan Martin, 16, was one of several participants who created his own snowflake on this “Snowflakes for Sandy Hook” mural. Behind him is the “Stop the Violence” mural created at Empresa Elementary School in Oceanside. Photo by Don Boomer/UT San Diego/Copyright 2012 San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC

click on photo to enlarge

For Oceanside’s Joanne Tawfilis, creating art for the Sandy Hook Elementary community made sense. She is the co-founder of a movement called Art Miles whose mission is to promote peace through murals.

Tawfilis teamed with the San Marcos Arts Council — including Marilyn Huerta, Arts & Lectures coordinator at Cal State San Marcos, and Tonya Lenz, owner of Twin Oaks Gallery Art & Frame — to organize students, professional artists and community members to create at least 10 canvas murals to send to Newtown, Conn. . . Painters included students from Cal State San Marcos, San Marcos High School, and Oceanside’s El Camino High.

Five completed murals were delivered and on display, including ones painted by students at Empresa Elementary School in Oceanside. Children at Discovery Elementary in San Marcos contributed three murals. Some of the murals were designed and sketched by Tawfilis and her husband, Fouad, then painted by the students, including one illustrated with a row of 26 colorful candles and another that has six angels lifting up 20 stars.

One of the largest canvasses headed to Newtown was created by dozens of students at San Marcos High. Students and visitors continued to work on the roughly 6-foot-by-15-foot canvas Thursday at the gallery.

Juliette Wallen, whose son, Andrew, is a freshman at San Marcos High, brought the canvas to the school on the last day of finals, Dec. 20. Wallen said she marveled as students continued to stop to paint snowflakes on the “Snowflakes for Sandy Hook” mural even though they had just finished finals and could head out for winter break.

“School’s out for the year, and they just kept coming and coming,” Wallen said. “You hear all this bad stuff in the world, and (then) the opposite is proven to you.”

Andrew Wallen, 14, and his friend Dylan Martin, 16, a San Marcos High sophomore, tagged along with Juliette Wallen to the gallery, adding to the school canvas and helping with another called “Ringing in the Hope,” with a soaring aviation and bells imagery.

Dylan said it was good to be using art for a “peaceful pursuit,” and to let the Sandy Hook community know that “people all the way in California care about them.”

Added Andrew: “I hope it brings them hope, that the joy that everyone put into (these murals) lifts their spirits from a horrible tragedy.”

Tawfilis, a retired United Nations diplomatic executive, said that through Art Miles, more than 4,200 portable canvas murals have been created by at least a half-million participants over 17 years. The murals focus on themes such as the environment and peace, and Art Miles always mobilizes after natural and violent disasters.

“We have a great circle of like-minded people,” Tawfilis said. “We have to teach the culture of peace.”

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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Latest reader comment:

Yes, the arts do create a basis for a culture of peace.
The question I would raise is where are the visual artists who have produced a Guernica like painting of Felluja? Paintings last longer than photographs which are too often fleeting.
Do the poets against the war meet annually?
I caught a bit of an interesting tv show which featured world class artists such as Wole Soyinka speaking in Israel/Palestine about ways to further the peace movement there. Did anyone else see the entire show?
I hope a local Peace Day could emulate the UN opening ceremony .


This report was posted on December 29, 2012.