Peace Chair Exhibit opens in Youngstown

The third Youngstown Peace Chair Exhibit opens next week at the DoubleTree Youngstown.

The local project is based on the award-winning programs of illustrator and author Wendy Anderson Halperin from South Haven, Mich. Through her work with at-risk youth across the country, Halperin realized the children she was teaching were very interested in the subject of peace.

That idea spawned “Drawing Kids Into Peace,” which combines drawing with the study of peaceful concepts and values. It challenges kids to put what they’ve learned into action through activities like the Peace Chair Project.

COMPASS Family and Community Services brought Halperin to Youngstown in 2016 to share “Drawing Kids Into Peace” with the mothers and children at Sojourner House and at-risk teens at Daybreak. The program concluded with the participants working together to paint the first Peace Chair as part of a campaign to raise awareness and funds for its clients, many of whom have been confronted with acts of violence and are working to change their lives.

Last year more than 50 artists, non-artists, groups and individuals participated in the project to paint the unfinished chairs, donated by the Gasser Chair Company. Each chair represented the artist’s own interpretation of the theme “Sit in Peace” and culminated with a silent auction.

This year, more than 50 chairs have been submitted representing young and old, seasoned and amateur artists.

All of the chairs will be displayed from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at the DoubleTree, 44 E. Federal St. Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, will display a few of the chairs as selected by Executive Director Louis Zona.

The chairs will be auctioned Sept. 21 at the COMPASS event, Chocolate, Wine, Dine & Groove at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown.

Proceeds from these events will benefit the Sojourner House Domestic Violence Shelter and the hundreds of families served there each year. For more information, call 330-782-5664.