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Department of Art Partners with Community Agencies for 2010 PeaceJam Mural University News
For release: February 11, 2010

For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson (901) 678-4164

For the second year in a row, the Department of Art, in collaboration with the Hispanic Student Association, Davis Community Center, Creative Aging Midsouth, Kingsbury High School, and PeaceJam, will organize a mural project to be completed on Saturday, February 20, during the Midsouth PeaceJam Youth Conference 2010 (February 20 & 21). This year’s guest muralist is Valerie Aranda, associate professor of art at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. A visual artist, educator, and cultural activist, Aranda has led several mural projects, most recently a community mural on leadership with San Anto Cultural Arts in San Antonio, Texas. She is a board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and has been involved with various organizations such as, Xicanindio Artes in Arizona, California, Women’s Caucus for Arts and the Latino Intercollegiate Consortium of Georgia.

Valerie Aranda's Maxwell Student Union Mural, "Creating Change."

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate to visit Memphis in conjunction with PeaceJam 2010 is Iranian native Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts for peace and women’s rights in Iran and across the Middle East. A lawyer by trade, she lives in Iran, where she continues to defend the human rights of all people. Ebadi will give a public talk on Friday, February 19 at 4 p.m. at the University of Memphis Michael D. Rose Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. The PeaceJam Youth Conference, which begins on February 20, will be held at Rhodes College.

The mural will be painted in the cafeteria of Lester Elementary School in the Memphis’ Binghamton neighborhood. For the project, participating groups will fill blank postcards with original artwork that explores questions of hope through education. The postcards, similar to fabric pieces used to make a quilt, will become part of the “Hope Through Education Mural,” an intergenerational work of art.

Goal of the project is to communicate individual and collective visions of hope, and express how art can be a vehicle to understand and convey issues of community, history, and the universal desire of for a better life through education. During the process each group will have a chance to develop an understanding of community and self, to discover the similarities or differences between individual and collective interpretations of the theme of hope through education.

PeaceJam is an international education program focused on the lives and work of 12 Nobel Peace Laureates. BRIDGES Inc., in partnership with Rhodes College, is the program’s Mid-South sponsor, providing youth from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida with invaluable insights on making peace in the world.

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