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Waging Peace exhibit reaches into the classroom

By: Amanda Karioth Thompson, COCA | May 16, 2018

“How do we proactively practice peace in our lives?” Local artist and educator Sara Chang often contemplates this question. Her photographic collage mandalas symbolize wholeness and balance. She finds the process of creating them is meditative and allows her to achieve a state of inner peace.

Chang is one of 40 artists whose work has been selected by a team of local educators to be shown in the Waging Peace exhibition at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA). The concept of peace is infused throughout her work as both an artist and the reading coach at Pineview Elementary School.

“Every day I try to practice what the Dalai Lama teaches us: connect to all sentient beings and practice loving kindness and compassion,” she shared. Her advice to others searching for personal balance is to “be patient and stay in the moment to experience awareness. Be proactive, not reactive.” She contends that one of the best ways to achieve this is through art making. It’s “a creative process, not destructive,” she said.

This is one of the driving principles behind the Waging Peace exhibit, the sixth show at MoFA to be co-curated by educators in the community. Leading the charge is Dr. Viki Thompson Wylder, Education Curator at the museum. To her, the operative word is “waging.”

“I don’t want anyone to think of peace as passive,” she said. “Peace is an active process. You have to be involved, think, act, do. We have a whole host of global problems and each one of us needs to make a contribution.”

That includes children. “We need to start talking to kids when they’re little or we won’t have people who feel they can do something and speak up.”

In an effort to carry that forward, the curatorial team also created an educational guide to compliment the artworks selected for the MoFA exhibition. “That’s important,” explains Wylder, “because it starts the process of integrating the exhibit into the classroom.”

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