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'Peacebuilding' art exhibition is mounted at ASU West campus, Fletcher Library - February 2010

A visual art exhibition featuring the art of students from the South Mountain High School visual arts program, Phoenix, and artists within the Cultural Arts Coalition has been mounted at Fletcher Library on Arizona State University's West campus. The display of artworks, coordinated and curated by the Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC), reflects "Acts of Peace Building" and runs through Feb. 19.

Mural by Francisco Garcia

"This is a wonderful reflection of the talents of a group of South Mountain High School students and other artists that aligns with the Cultural Arts Coalition's mission," said judy butzine, co-founder and co-director of CAC. "It is our hope that the work of these students and professional artists will promote social awareness and increase engagement between the public and civic institutions and the people they serve."

100 South Mountain High School youth tour the exhibition on Friday, Feb 4th at 10-11:30.

We thank Interim ASU West Library Director, Dennis Isbell, for taking the time to acknowledge the importance of these students' artworks and their contributions to our community. Mr. Isbell also welcomed and encouraged these participants to visit the campus and consider the campus as a location to continue their education. The exhibit of paintings and sculptures is featured on the library's second and third floors and is open to the public. Admission is free.

Presented in collaboration with South Mountain magnet art and beginning visual art high school students, the exhibit also includes the artistry of Irma Turtle, who has spent the last 10 years in Africa doing humanitarian work through her TurtleWill organization. On her Web site, Turtle says of her drawings, "They depict my world as I know it, see it, intuit it. They depict it as I want it to be and know it can be. The drawings are all about a world of magnificent universal love." -

"Peacebuilding is different from peacemaking or peacekeeping," Ms. Butzine says. "It focuses on creating a long-term culture of peace, rather than solving existing conflicts or preventing old ones from re-occurring. Peacebuilding activities aim at building understanding and tolerance between individuals, communities and societies and establishing new structures of cooperation. These activities range in scale from personal acts kindness toward others to global inter-governmental programs."

"First Family" by ASU Professor Emeritus, Dr. Eugene Grigsby, Jr., Founder of COBA

"Family Affair" by Sonny Sholola, South Mt. High School instructor and member of COBA

The Consortium of Black Organizations & Others for the Arts was founded by Dr. Eugene Grigsby, Jr. in 1982. For the past 30 years the non-profit has also presented a Phoenix Union High School district art exhibition that highlights the talents of these young people.

The high school youth had an opportunity to view their artworks as well as to enjoy other students' art, included in the exhibition.

Triptych from students at Las Artes under the direction of Martin Moreno.

These 100 youth were grouped into tours of approximately 10-15 youth to view the artworks on both floors: The honoring of the students' art and the Cultural Arts Coalition artists was the focus of the next 40 minutes. The exhibit will cast a spotlight on peacebuilding and what it means. "We value the arts as more than mere decoration or aesthetic value; we witness that all of the arts are a primary means of communication reflecting on life lessons through artistic creation and expression. This exhibition highlights ways each individual can be involved in his or her community, building a culture of peace through learning about 'Acts of Peace Building.'"

Malissa Geer, ASU Down Town Phoenix campus community Liaison Representative from the Dean's Office was also present to speak with all the art teachers and the students. An ongoing relationship with these students and the placement of their artworks at ASU DT campus occurred last spring.

Chuck Banaszewski was the key note speaker. A former doctoral graduate of the Theater Program at ASU, Tempe campus and the owner of Spraygraphic web site and apparel. Chuck told his story about perseverance and commitment to one's creative capacities in spite of the roadblocks that persons put in our way.

"Some of the pivotal experiences in my career as an artist have led me to become an active participant in the Phoenix art community, which allows me the chance to discuss with these students the importance of young people learning how to maximize available opportunities in order to become successful entrepreneurs in today's art world," said Banaszewski, who has been providing young artists a virtual space to display their work through his company.

He said the importance of the exhibit is particularly significant now.

"In our current economic situation, it is absolutely essential for institutions like Arizona State University to reach out and provide aesthetic opportunities for young people living in the Phoenix community to share their creative energies. This exhibit provides young artists from South Mountain High an opportunity to share their creative efforts and at the same time provide the ASU West campus with quality artwork from Phoenix's up and coming artists," he said.

The continuing relationships the Cultural Arts Coalition has built with ASU professors, students and administrators fulfill ASU President Crow'scommunity outreach commitment of "Social Embeddedness".

It is a gift to build these collaborations based on respect and creative endeavors to provide learning opportunities for many.

George Reiley puts together the Peace Pole

These sculptural forms are the "Twin Towers", an honoring to all those persons who died due to the 911 violent acts in New York City, 2001

Janet Broyles, Chairperson of the Visual Arts Department, hangs this collaborative quilt with Nissa Kubly and Jeff Kunes. Dana Cervantes and Marjorie Hannah are the other two art teachers and their art students contributing to this exhibition.

These teachers are all committed to providing a full scope of artistic techniques for students to experience and attain their highest level of creative potential.

We want to thank Margaret Rodriguez for coordinating this opportunity at ASU Fletcher Library for the exhibition to occur and Steve Des Georges, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, for the press release.

Chuck Banaszewski also took many of these photos to document the work.

Huichol yarn paintings artworks by Carolina Parra Morales and Francisco Garcia

Review by judy butzine

Co-founder/co-director of the Cultural Arts Coalition

The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: stimulates creative, analytical and leadership development for personal transformation and collective change through celebrations and multidisciplinary learning experiences.