Wars, natural disasters, shootings, pandemics, political unrest and life. For a group of art therapy graduate students, the unfolding disaster of 9/11/01 led to the need for connection and grounding. As schools nationally were closed, these students gathered at the Chicago home of their professor, art therapist, Dr. Barbara Fish. They brought art materials and food to share, sat at the dining room table, lit a candle and made art as a community. The experience provided so much relief that they decided to return the next week – and so, the Art for Peace group began.
With the onset of the world pandemic and an increase in social and political tension, the Art for Peace group continues as a source of connection and grounding. To reach those beyond local participants and because of the constraints of the pandemic, the group now meets weekly over Zoom. A special, virtual event is being held on 9/10/21 to highlight the Art for Peace group’s 20 years of affirmative creativity in response to trauma.
Dr. Fish’s intention was, and continues to be, to holding this creative community where individuals can gather, to support their ability to respond instead of react to the traumatic events surrounding them.
For Dr. Fish, “During this time of national crisis and personal stress, it is important for all of us to respond with clarity. When we are afraid, the potential is greater for us to react rather than act consciously. The Art for Peace group supports the comfort, connection we need to think and act clearly.”
Since 9/11/2001, colleagues, family, friends and neighbors from various walks of life have joined the group. All forms of creativity are welcome. People knit, paint, doodle and color, engaging in materials that feel right for them. The Art for Peace group has local and international participants of every age. Anyone interested in engaging in creativity to support living intentional, responsive lives are invited.
Art for Peace continues to be a source of comfort and connection for artists and all interested others to feel the healing power of positive creativity with independent chapters proliferating from coast to coast. Our on-going Art for Peace groups convene weekly on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Barbara Fish is founder of the Art for Peace group. She has written many professional articles and book chapters and is the author of Art-Based Supervision: