Stories of CHALK4PEACE

Some of the stories that make CHALK4PEACE unique...

Rainbow Man
Ashlawn Elementary School, Arlington, VA
Date: 2006

We gave this artist the nickname Rainbow Man. He was a very quiet guy with Down's Syndrome who was one of our first artists to chalk4peace. When I gave him the chalk, I asked, "Do you know what peace is?"

He said, "I do!" That's all he said.
This is what he drew. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was way ahead of his time.

In Florence, 2011, Team CHALK4PEACE was scheduled to engage twelve schools throughout the city, meeting with classes, showing them how to draw with chalk and preparing them for the 12 Oct Gessito per Pace that our friends from Syracuse University in Florence had arranged. We met with one student body in the school gym and we discussed the idea of expressing peace. Fortunately, Vittoria Tettamanti, professor at the university, was my translator. As we finished up, the "insegnanti e la testa della scuola", the educators and the head of school led a young lady over to me, who moved with crutches and was clearly a student of special needs. They said she had a gift for me. She very proudly handed over a carefully wrapped piece of yellow chalk.

She said slowly in English, "This is for you because you brought CHALK4PEACE to Firenze. Yellow is my favorite color."

Few gestures have ever moved me as the presentation of that gift. I still have that piece of chalk...


MLK, Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, DC, 2005

This image is the reason we encourage CHALK4PEACE worldwide. It was created during the first CHALK4PEACE event in DC at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. 100+ students from the Asian and Pacific Islanders program from the Mayor's Office and the DC Arts & Humanities Commission were invited to draw their messages of peace on the promenade. It dawned on us, with this image of a tank being crushed by the Chinese symbols 4 peace,  that young peoples' creativity is a fundamental force that has the ability to call attention to the need for world peace. That day, CHALK4PEACE sprung to life as a global art movement for peace.