The art of peace: local artists plan community project

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The terracotta soldiers stand sentinel at the Rancho Linda Vista’s Wilson Barn property, guarding the Catalina Mountains for peace. John Hernandez | Miner

San Manuel Miner

A group of local artists have planned a community art project that is a fundraiser, a learning and creative experience as well as an expression of peace. The public art installation will create an army of “Peace Warriors”. The idea is for community members to come together and create a band of terracotta soldiers that will stand in a field overlooking and guarding the Catalina Mountains. These unfired terracotta soldiers will stand watch until they eventually, slowly melt back into the earth.

The concept for the terracotta soldiers was inspired by the discovery of the first Chinese Emperor Quin Shi Huang’s burial ground. Quin Shi had a terracotta army of 8,000 life size sculptures plus terracotta horses, chariots and real weapons entombed with him at his death around 210–209 BC The terracotta army was discovered in 1974 by farmers. Archaeologists then began excavating the site.

The idea of using the project as an expression of peace came from a woman who became known as the Peace Pilgrim. Mildred Norman Rider became known as Peace Pilgrim when she began walking across North America in 1953. She vowed to walk until mankind had learned the way of peace. She walked until given shelter and fasted until given food while spreading her message of peace. She wandered from 1953 until 1981 when she died in an automobile accident while on her way to a speaking engagement. She touched many lives and hearts during her journey of over 25,000 miles trusting people to give her shelter and food. Most of the artists working in the project have a connection with the Peace Pilgrim in some way or knew someone who had a connection to her. For Carol Mahoney the connection began in a bookstore. ABC Books was a store in Denver, Colo. owned by Carol. Her mother Gerry Magnie worked there. Many customers came in the store and asked for books about or by the Peace Pilgrim. They finally ordered some and were so touched by the message in the book they organized an annual Peace Walk which was held every October. The Peace Pilgrim’s message continues to inspire people around the world.

No experience is necessary to participate and artists of all levels are welcome. Everyone will be able to personalize their sculptured soldier starting with a clay impression of their own face. Each participant will be given a 25 pound bag of terracotta clay. Five Arizona sculptors will give a demonstration on how to build the figures and will help guide you along the way. The five sculptors are Sharon Brady, Fox McGrew, Julie Stein, Carol Goldberg and Danielle Neibling. There will also be live music performed by John Magnie of the New Orleans band “Subdudes”.

The fee for participating in the community art project is $60. There is no charge for observers. The profit from the event will go toward the purchase of a large state of the art community kiln. The event will be held April 5 at the Wilson Barn, 2436 W Linda Vista Rd. in Oracle. It is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The schedule for the day follows:

• 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Participants will observe five artists each build a soldier figure to start the army. You will be able to ask questions and collect ideas while you prepare to make a soldier.

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Everyone will build their soldiers and help place the army facing the mountains, photographing as we go.

If you can’t make the event you can still donate. Some scholarships will be made available to local junior high and high school students interested in the project. For more information or to make a reservation contact Carol Mahoney at 520-827-1209 call/text or email at cmahoneyworks@icloud.com. Make checks payable to RLV OracleArt and mail to Carol Mahoney, 1055 E. Paseo Encino, Oracle, AZ 85623-6205. You can also pay at the door with cash, check, or credit card. Join the Peace Army.

“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”…Peace Pilgrim

John Hernandez (150 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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