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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dewey Elementary Promotes Peace with Indira Johnson's Buddha Head

Press Release from Dewey Elementary
Ten Thousand Ripples Peace Project Comes to Dewey School!

There is a powerful and profound need to remember that peace is possible despite the violence that surrounds us on so many different fronts. Ten Thousand Ripples is that reminder. Images of an emerging Buddha, a universal icon of peace, invite us to think about how we can find peace in our own lives and communities. TTR builds on 20 years of successful peace-building activities conducted by artist Indira Johnson and her Shanti Foundation for Peace, now a program of Changing Worlds.

What: Ten Thousand Ripples (TTR) is a multi-platform public art and peace project, a collaboration between artist Indira Johnson and a consortium of cultural, educational, and social service organizations and community development agencies. The visual center of TTR will be 100 fiberglass emerging Buddha head sculptures designed by Johnson and installed in sites selected by each of ten neighborhood partner cohorts. Each cohort will identify the core social issue that stands between its community and its desire for peaceful streets and mutual understanding. At the programmatic center of TTR will be 3-4 months of activities specific to each community. Each cohort will plan and implement artistic programming that brings people together on common ground encouraging them to find ways to create the changes they wish to see.

Why the Buddha? The Buddha image has become a universal icon for peace. Appearing in public art and murals, popularized on T-shirts, adopted symbolically by rock bands and trendy restaurants, the Buddha is somewhat familiar—but unusual enough to be an arresting visual presence on the streets of the Chicago area. The Buddha strikes a balance between its secular face and spiritual symbol, the latter embodying a longing for peace in an increasingly frightening world. Visually compelling, Johnson’s serene, peaceful Buddha heads that appear to be emerging from the ground will materialize in urban neighborhoods—poised to initiate city-wide conversations about art and peace. Exchanges will range from shared observations, still photos and videos, sending and receiving of tweets, blogging and poetic recitations. The Buddha heads will catalyze community conversations and visual, literary, media and performance events to build a culture of peace and acceptance in each community.

Why Dewey? The Dewey Peaceweavers, Dewey’s Roots and Shoots group, has always seen humanitarian issues related to peace as part of their core values and mission. After contacting the artist, Indira Johnson, she felt that Dewey would be a perfect site to plant this seed to grow peace within the community. It is our hope as a school that the community will embrace this symbol and that the ripples of peace will spread outward from our Peace Garden.

When? The Buddha sculpture will be installed on Friday, May 3 at Dewey between 1 and 2. A celebration for the Dewey community will be held in the near future, date and time to be announced.

We've been traveling all over Evanston searching for these Buddha heads and now Dewey will have one, that is such great news!

Click on the links below to learn more about this exciting project:

Public Art Treasure Hunt for Indira Johnson's Buddha Heads

Public Art Treasure Hunt for Buddha Heads in Evanston Continues

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