Stories of CHALK4PEACE

stories that make CHALK4PEACE A unique Peace Project...

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

This is the Rainbow Man. He was a quiet guy with Down's Syndrome who was one of our first artists to chalk4peace. When I gave him the chalk, I asked him , "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; and he didn't get a single bit of chalk on his white shoes...

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, my friend, Vittoria Tettamanti, university professor, was my translator. As we finished up, the "insegnanti e la testa della scuola", the head of school led a young lady over to me, whose mobility was aided by 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."

I smiled, said "Grazie!" and turned away to hide my tears.

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 launched CHALK4PEACE. 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. I had been surrounded by police the last time I attempted this there. That day, everything changed. With this image of a tank being crushed by the Chinese symbols 4 peace,  that young peoples' creativity is a force that has the ability to call attention to the need to practice world peace. That day, CHALK4PEACE sprung to life as a global art movement for peace.

500,000 artists, a thousand events and 14 linear miles of chalked up pavement later, CHALK4PEACE is teaching peace worldwide.