Art of Peace - Tyler is sponsoring a new project to offer East Texas peace enthusiasts the chance to hear outstanding speakers who are actively seeking to understand and create paths to peace. With the mission of Open Hearts. Open Minds, the first Texas Peace Summit is set for Sunday, May 7, from 2-5 PM at First Christian Church at the corner of S. Broadway and Loop 323 in Tyler, Texas.
Inaugural Texas Peace Summit speakers are Dr. Bob Sterken, a UTTyler professor, author and Fulbright Scholar ; Soumaya Kahlifa, a Muslim community leader, entrpreneur and leadership consultant; Dr. Jerome Milton, a Tyler pastor, civil rights advocate and community leader; and Dr. David Scott, a UTTyler professor, former law enforcement officer and criminologist. Using a TED-Talk format, each speaker will give a short presentation and then answer questions. Rabbi Neal Katz will serve as emcee for the event.
In addition to the speakers, UTTyler Model U.N. students will host a display of the United Nations Sustainable Development plans. There will also be information about Tyler's Sister Cities Program, which includes six international cities who cooperate culturally with Tyler. Art of Peace -- Tyler, the sponsoring organization of the Texas Peace Summit, will be on hand with information about the 2017 Art of Peace - Tyler celebration. including calls for submissions of art and poetry and ways to get involved with the group's peace events set for September.
Space is limited, so those interested are encouraged to register early!
Inspired by the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21, and inspired by her experience with the Art of Peace Festival in Belton, InSpiritry's Anne McCrady wanted to host a similar event in East Texas. She approached friends, Mary Andrews and Rabbi Neal Katz about creating a local Peace Day celebration. In 2010, the trio began to plan for a celebration of local artistic expression as a way to affirm peace and to encourage a more compassionate community. They wanted to bring together and connect East Texans committed to the tenets of peace. Since then, the Art of Peace Tyler committee has expanded year after year-- and so has the celebration.
Now in its sixth year, the Art of Peace - Tyler has grown to a ten-day series of arts-based events that include dozens of peacemakers, volunteers, artists, art forms, venues, businesses, non-profit organizations, civic groups and supporters, with the continuing mission of Compassion - Creativity - Community. Anne McCrady co-directs the festival and hosts several of the Art of Peace - Tyler events, and InSpiritry continues to be a founding sponsor. Events include music concerts, film, visual art, poetry, peace pole installations, children's activities, speakers and conversations, college campus events, spiritual events, an open-table peace meal and the tradition of a Living Peace Sign.
Often a high point of Peace Week, Art of Peace - Tyler live music concerts have featured outstanding singer-songwriters such as peace advocate David LaMotte, singer-songwriter & producer Tom Prasada-Rao, Texas icons Sarah Hickman and Ruthie Foster, and local musicians playing in a tribute to Harry Chapin, who spent his life addressing hunger. The 2016 Singer-songwriter was Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary fame! The 2017 concert will feature local singer-songwriters and musicians performing classic peace songs at the Liberty Theater in downtown Tyler, Texas.
Another event not to be missed is the annual Art of Peace - Tyler Peace Meal. This celebratory gathering on the International Day of Peace brings together neighbors from across the city to share a meal, conversation and a widening circle of friendship. The 2017 Peace Meal will be held at the Tyler ISD Career & Technology Center Culinary Cafe with the meal catered by the district's culinary students.
As its literary contribution to Art of Peace - Tyler, InSpiritry publishes an annual international chapbook collection of peace poetry in conjunction with the event. Past titles have included PeaceWords, Hunger for Peace, and Intertwined - Poems of Shared Endeavor, with poems from as far away as Africa, the United Kingdom and both U.S. coasts. The 2016 chapbook title matched the festival theme: Paths to Peace - Journey to Wholeness. In 2017, the theme will be Building Bridges. As in past years, Art of Peace - Tyler cofounder, Anne McCrady, will edit the collection.
Each year, Art of Peace - Tyler spotlights a local organization promoting peace at the local level. Past honorees have included PATH - People Attempting to Help, The Tyler Literacy Council, The East Texas Crisis Center, East Texas Food Bank, and the St. Paul Children's Foundation. In 2016, the group honored the Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler. The 2017 Peace Honoree is Habitat for Humanity of Smith County. Proceeds from the annual poetry collection and love offerings are also collected at events will be donated to that group.
From 2008 - 2015, Anne McCrady was a supporter, volunteer and featured poet & storyteller at the Art of Peace Festival in Belton, Texas. The creation of art professor and peace advocate, Helen Kwiatkowski, the Art of Peace Festival featured music, spoken word, visual art and children's advocacy. Distressed by world conflicts and local family violence, Helen, Anne and singer-songwriter Emily Kaitz hosted an annual folk concert and art show in Belton, Texas, to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21. Helen named it The Art of Peace Festival, an afternoon gathering with proceeds supporting the Child Advocacy Center of Central Texas. The Art of Peace Festival became a family reunion of Central Texas musicians, artists, poets, students and friends who support more compassionate and creative communities. In 2016, it was decided the event would be downsized to a house concert with the same intent.
Peacemakers, Inc. was founded in 1987, by Dallas, Texas, journalist, feminist and peace pioneer Vivian Castleberry.
Founded by Vivian and other activist women in Dallas, Peacemakers, Inc. the first International Women's Peace Conference in Dallas, in 1988, with a second conference in 1999. The third conference was held in July, 2007, in Dallas, Texas, focused on empowering peacemakers. Almost 1400 delegates from 45 countries and 37 U.S. states attended the conference. Action Plans, developed by delegates at professionally facilitated workshops, outlined specific actions that can be taken by grassroots peacemakers to build peace in their respective communities and countries. Peacemakers invites individuals and organizations to collaborate in these peace actions and to network with peacemakers throughout the world by communicating success stories, advice and requests for assistance. At the 2007 conference, Anne was a delegate and hosted a Peace Poetry Open Mic of poets from around the world.
In 2010, Vivian's influence spread to Denton, where she became the namesake and inspiration for the University of North Texas Castleberry Peace Institute; Anne McCrady and her husband Mike were among founding donors for that institute, which focuses on research and education into the causes of war and peace. Anne McCrady continues to support Peacemakers, Inc. and the Castleberry Peace Institute. You can find out more about these important organizations at Peacemakers Incorporated and the Castleberry Peace Institute. Inspired by Vivian and Peacemakers, Anne McCrady went on to cofound Art of Peace Festival in Belton, Texas, and Art of Peace - Tyler and the Texas Peace Summit in Tyler, Texas.