"My Dream of Peace," art project at The Goodman Community Center
Each time the kids and I would start the peace art project, we would start with a little talk about what peace is and what are the images of peace. We talked about the world and what it means to be kind. We also talked about what makes each person feel peaceful. Many of the children understood peace as being calm or happy, several children painted color fields, serene and vibrant, images of their families, friends, nature, pets, rainbows and hearts emerged. Hand prints became a symbol. In the beginning, the kids were painting people holding hands, hands reaching into a deep blue sky, hands reaching for a heart. Then the children started using there hands as the brush. Collaborative art was encouraged. Goodman teaches twins, Sara and Ava, the two girls painted a picture of the world as a peace sign with their hand prints. Amazing! Another student , Jillian, painted a picture of her "Mommy waking her up in the morning." The image of her and her mother hugging, smiling and with their eyes filled with Joy! Callum drew of his pet lizard, watching him draw it, you could see he was imagining happily playing with his friend. Shimeria, painted profoundly a rainbow that read "peace comes in all colors." Marcus and Malachi laughed and painted together "Peace in the Universe," with the planets whirling around each other in a symphony of color. It occurred to me that you have to have peace within, to have peace in the world or the universe. One of the artist, Nyjua, simply painted hands with birds and in gold writing it read, "Never Stop." As I hung this art show three weeks ago, I felt the magnitude of this project. I started to laugh and a tear came to my eye. You see as adults we talk of peace as an unattainable, as if it is folly, naive, lofty, distant or an impossible dream. I think we feel world peace happens for a time or in small pockets around the globe. However, a child painting and playing believes that world peace is attainable, that it exists and sees the beauty of life. This is exactly where peace comes from and is for.