What does peace mean to you? That’s the central question photographer and storyteller John Noltner has been asking people for his social commentary project, A Peace of My Mind.
Founded in 2009, A Peace of My Mind is a multimedia art project that fosters public dialogue about issues related to conflict resolution, civic responsibility, and peace. With engaging portraits and compelling personal stories, nearly 100 diverse subjects describe what peace means to them, how they work toward it in their lives, and some of the obstacles they encounter along the way.
A Peace of My Mind will exhibit at the Tenth Triennial Gathering, July 13-16, in Minneapolis, Minn., at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
In a world that often asks us to focus on the things that can separate us…politics, ethnicity, and religion…A Peace of My Mind encourages us to explore the common humanity that connects us. – founder John Noltner
Those profiled include Holocaust survivors and a homeless man, a Somali refugee and a military chaplain, a pottery instructor and an oil company executive. Artists, volunteers, politicians, and business leaders all share their thoughts and inspiring stories in a series that celebrates our common experience and sense of community.
A Peace of My Mind expanded into the public forum in 2010 with the production of a traveling exhibit, funded through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Since then, more than 80,000 people have viewed the exhibit at schools, private galleries, community centers, places of worship, libraries, and universities across the country.
In 2011, A Peace of My Mind won support from 92 backers through a Kickstarter campaign to produce a book from the series with a foreword written by Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter, Ela Gandhi. The book earned first place in the Midwest Book Awards, and won a silver IPPY from the Independent Publishers Association.
A Peace of My Mind continues to develop programming to engage viewers with the art. Through keynote presentations, small group discussions, and in-depth workshops, A Peace of My Mind helps civic and student groups understand the ways we categorize one another and how we can bridge our differences and build community through sharing our stories.
Using this model, A Peace of My Mind has been presented at the Peace and Justice Studies Association National Conference, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and the Dayton International Peace Museum. The project has been honored in 2013 with EDIT’s Art for Change award, Jovial Concept’s Peace Initiative, and a Jefferson Award for Youth Service.
–News release by A Peace of My Mind