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Imagining Peace


Thinkstock: Benjavisa

In her quest to depict a world without violence, one artist creates monuments to the human spirit.

This article appeared in the Summer 2000 issue of Spirituality & Health. One day in 1980, I read in my morning newspaper that fifty wars were raging around the globe. Putting down the paper, I wondered, why is it that when most of us want peace, war is so prevalent? What are we missing? Trying to envision a new culture without war, I began to ask these questions: Since humanity has never experienced living without violence, what would peace be like? How would we get the things we want? Who would be our heroes? Is anyone or anything pointing the way? These questions quickly became the driving force in my life. Up to that time my sculpture and my activism had revolved around young people (my husband, Mel, and I have raised 10 adopted and foster children), so it was natural for me to start with them. Visiting schools throughout the United States in an educational project I developed called “Imaging Peace,” I asked students from first grade to third-year law: “what does peace look like?” It’s difficult for any of us to describe what’s not there; we usually describe peace as the absence of war. We d …

Dana Toomey danced in New York with the Martha Graham dancers, received awards for painting and drawing, and worked as a professional writer. In 1985, she turned to sculpture, studying at the Art Students League in New York, with the Stanley Bleifeld Studio in Connecticut, and in Pietrasanta, Italy, for two years. Today she has a body of work that has been exhibited from Connecticut to Kyoto.

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