“Making space for peace, one chair at a time.”
What began as an art piece given to one elementary school teacher has grown into a transformative movement to bring peace awareness through the arts.
Art Peace Chairs in Action
Catalina McIsaac first created a Peace Chair for the classroom of second grade teacher, Laurie Wright. When McIsaac checked in with Wright a month later, it was clear that the chair had created a major positive change in the classroom. In particular, one student’s entire pattern of behavior was transformed.
“One of my students uses the chair for a ‘personal time-out’ when he needs a break from the classroom routine and, more importantly, when he has an outburst. Instead of running out the door, he runs to the (peace) chair. This is a much safer option. Using the (peace) chair has helped him make major progress in his behavior.” -Laurie Wright
The Peace Chair Project was born, with more chairs popping up in classrooms all over northern Santa Barbara county. These chairs offer a means of conflict resolution that is non-punitive — meaning that it isn’t a punishment but a positive opportunity for students.
In 2011, The Peace Chair Project begun a special project to partner with Lose Prietos Boys Camp, CA. At-risk young men had the opportunity to create Peace Chairs of their own. They then presented the results to local schools, and the special installation assembly made the front page of the Santa Barbara News Press. The program continues at Los Prietos Boys Camp, where residents participate in expressing themselves through art and donate the results to local schools.
Art.Peace.Imagine is in the process of creating curriculum so that other teachers may use the healing power of art and Peace Chairs to promote reconciliation in their classrooms and with the young people that they mentor.