A new virtual project is serving up “offerings of peace” to counteract the trauma of 2020.
Launched by the New York City-based Peace Studio in early July, the “100 Offerings of Peace” campaign unites creatives from around the world to explain what peace means to them. So far, participating artists include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Grammy Award winner Ty Defoe, performance artist Anthony Sims, and playwright Sarah Ruhl. One response will be posted daily until Nov. 1 at www.thepeacestudio.com/100-offerings-of-peace.
Each artist answers in the format of their choice — a song, video, poem, visual art piece, or other medium. Ruhl, for example, released a poem about the history of Mother’s Day and its connection to peace on July 7. “But the original Mother’s Day proclaimed:/ Peace is as peace does./ To make peace, we say./ Peace is a doing, a making,” she wrote.
The project was cofounded by Jamaica Plain resident Thomas West, a classically trained singer and the Peace Studio’s executive director, to help people maintain some sense of calm during the pandemic. The Peace Studio, a nonprofit which advocates for peace-building worldwide, was co-created in 2016 by Maya Soetoro, sister of President Barack Obama.
“We wanted to find out what could artists create right now for physical distribution about what peace is,” West said in a phone interview. “How do they practice it in their own lives? And how could they see it rise and flourish in the midst of the pandemic? We also asked them to consider that when someone reads their offering of peace, what is one action step they might take to build peace in this moment?”
Even former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick got involved in the project, appearing in a video for the project’s launch. “It’s really about reconciliation and bridge building,” Patrick said in a phone interview. “We need these gifts of grace now more than ever.”
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