Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yesterday, Michael and I went to the Inland Agency Peace Festival, a lovely event centered around a local after school arts program called A Sense of Peace. The students at Santiago High School created several life-sized canvas people, stiffened with wax, each one representing a different issue--women's rights, animal rights, school bullying, etc. A very articulate young woman, one of the students in the program, led us around the exhibit and explained the different techniques and intentions used for each figure (the animal rights one, for example, was covered with scratch marks made from forks dipped in paint and charcoal, as if animals were trying to claw their way to a better future.) I especially loved how each figure's belly was open, donated items spilling out--these students weren't just exploring social issues through their art; they were also working to make a real difference in the community. So the women's issues figure was filled with clothing for women and children that will be donated to a local women's shelter, the environmental rights figure was filled with food that is going to be donated to a local food bank, etc. I always love to see how people are finding ways to bridge art and social change, and it makes me very happy to know such projects are happening in local schools.

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