The art of peace

Featured Photo

Bridging cultural differences and age-old animosities is the goal of an arts-based leadership program for Israeli and Palestinian teenagers hosted by Boston College this summer. The program brought together 24 youths, ages 15 to 17, from Israel and the West Bank for three weeks in July and August to work on art projects, from painting to filmmaking to pottery. The goal, in the words of Debbie Nathan, director of Artsbridge, the Massachusetts-based nonprofit that founded the program, is for students to “learn how to use their creative talents for positive effect and empowerment.” Nathan brought the concept to James Bernauer, SJ, director of the University’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, who enlisted the aid of fine arts professor John Michalczyk (a filmmaker who is filming the activities) and Mark Cooper, a sculptor and ceramicist in the fine arts department. On August 5, the students met Cooper at the Connolly Carriage House to add their messages to a representation of the Berlin Wall that Cooper has created. Their drawings and words will go on display when the 44-foot-long, 12-foot-high wall is installed on campus sometime in October. Working with Cooper (center) are, from left, Saja Yacuob Kalouti (obscured), Yousef Tarifi, Amit Sharon, and Rotem Zohar. “At the heart of this,” says Bernauer, “is [the students’] discovery of what they have in common—their artistic aspirations and talents—instead of what divides them.”

This feature was posted on Friday, August 7, 2009 and is filed under Featured Photo.
Photo Lee Pellegrini