To promote a message of nonviolence during April 2009, the Ball State University (BSU) Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) in collaboration with various BSU departments and offices, and community partners (VSA arts of Indiana, Beyond I Can, Caring Arts Program) hosted a three-day event entitled, “Paint4Peace.” This project was designed to raise public consciousness about violence on campuses and communities, and to teach principles and strategies of nonviolence to college students and others from diverse racial, ethnic, education, and socio-economic backgrounds.
On April 2, two visiting artists (Sidewalk Sam and Russell Freeland) worked with more than 600 members of the BSU and Muncie communities to create a 20 x 20 foot “Dove for Peace” that was constructed between Bracken Library and University Theater on campus. Participants painted slogans and symbols abo ut nonviolence on the Dove design and signed their names. Hundreds of slogans, symbols, and signatures were created in over 20 different languages.
On the evening of April 2, BSU President Jo Ann Gora moderated a panel discussion entitled, “Promoting Non-violence Across Communities.” Thepanel featured former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Dr. Eric King,(Superintendent, Muncie Schools), Sidewalk Sam, and Frank Hood.
On April 3 and 4, children and teens with various emotional, physical, mental, and cognitive abilities affiliated with VSA arts of Indiana, Festival Friday from the Muncie school system, and the Caring Arts Program participated in the creation of a series of peace murals coordinated by the two visiting artists. On April 4, the two artists also coordinated the creation of peace murals at Beyond I CAN (Muncie, Indiana) with about 20 young adult artisans with disabilities.