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Global peace, piece by piece

A group of local citizens is working to promote peace throughout the world through art. While that sounds like a tall order, they have many, many allies.

In the coming weeks, this small but creative and caring group will participate in the Global Art Project (GAP). The project is “a grass-roots effort to promote peace by uniting people around the world in harmony through artistic expression.”

Twelve artists have created a piece that they feel expresses their vision of global unity. Those works will be on exhibit through April 28 at Black Diamond Studios in Glenwood Springs before they are shipped to a group of artists in British Columbia, Canada.



“The idea is in creating a gift,” said Lynette O’Kane, a participating artist and co-owner of Black Diamond Studios. “You are making a gift for someone else.”

GAP began in 1994 by Katherine Josten, who is now the project’s director. Its home is in Tucson, Ariz., but its message reaches countries around the world, including Ecuador, Mexico, Ireland, Japan, Namibia, the Netherlands, and more than 50 other countries.



A Global Arts viewing celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 26, at Black Diamond. The 10 pieces of art will then be mailed to the group’s Canadian counterparts. The reception is open to anyone, and particularly to people who are interested in participating in GAP in the future.

“You do not have to be an artist to participate,” said O’Kane. “I would love to see any form of creativity.”

O’Kane learned about the project through a friend who lives in New York City. That person, she said, was a passenger on a United flight out of New York City on Sept. 11. She now wants to help promote worldwide peace, and GAP takes at least one step toward a solution.

“Creating art as a uniting force, particularly in these times, is so important,” said O’Kane. Not only will the project help artists connect, it will also help people living in various cultures throughout the world to better understand each other.

Almost all of the people who responded to O’Kane’s call for participants are professional artists themselves. “They all said they’d love to give a piece away,” she said.

This year’s local participants are Maria and Adam Sippola, Wewer Keohane, Jon Rietfors, Kelley Jones, Linda Drake, Bobbi Van Meter, Sheri Gaynor, Trudi Peet and Briana O’Kane. Kelley Jones, of Cheyenne, Wyo., will also participate.

Each has created a piece unique to his or her ability, and each will receive a piece created by a GAP participant from British Columbia. Those works will be exhibited in the future at Black Diamond Studios.

“We are so excited to see what we get,” said Maria Sippola, whose piece, “Justice,” is of a woman holding the scales of justice.

“The best beloved of all things in my sight is justice,” said Sippola, who works at Black Diamond.

Her husband, Adam, chose a Baha’i poem, which he penned on handmade paper and framed. Titled “O Son of Spirit,” it begins, “The best beloved of all things in my sight is Justice.”

“The world is lacking in justice,” said Sippola, a Baha’i. If there is to be true global unity and peace, he said, “what we need is an international, universal system of justice that actually works.”

Lynette O’Kane created a piece she calls “Pangaea Ultima.” An analogy to global unity, it represents the great continent of Pangaea before the Continental Drift began and lands split into the seven continents, the continents as they exist now, and the continents again as one, as some predict they will become in the future.

O’Kane’s 9-year-old daughter, Briana, painted the earth surrounded by animals, and called it “Think Global.”

Sheri Gaynor’s pastel is titled “Art for Peace.”

Bobbi Van Meter created a “Love Token,” a heart-shaped, multi-colored mirror of glass. The white, black, brown, yellow and red glass at the center represents the people of the world.

Linda Drake, who owns Lunar Designs in Glenwood Springs, created an offbeat piece made of a bedspring taken from her sister-in-law’s property in upstate New York and topped by a globe of eyeglass lenses. The surface of the globe is a painting she created in a “Painting from Within” workshop. The globe sports a pair of feathery wings.

“I like to think of it as the eyes on the world,” said Drake.

Jon Rietfors, known for making social comments through his art, created a piece titled, “Made in Mexico.”

Rietfors’ sister, Kelley Jones, has created an intricate wheat weaving for the project.

Wewer Keohane created one of her intricate hand-made books, complete with pleasant yet worldly text, for the project.

Trudi Peet submitted a painting of penguins, titled “Hope in Winter.”

“Artists aren’t limited to size or shape, except, perhaps, when it comes to shipping,” said O’Kane.

Groups are matched with groups of comparable size around the world, said O’Kane. She would like to see more people, including local schools, participate in the project in the future.

“There’s no telling what part of the world we’ll be connected with next time,” she said.

For more on participating in the local Global Arts Project, call Black Diamond Studios at 947-0947. For more on the international project, visit http://www.global-art.org.


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