A recent comment on the web site found inspiration in the poem found within the book art Instrument of Peace, now being exhibited at (SCENE) Metrospace of East Lansing until June 24, 2012. The poem is a revised secular version of the Prayer of Saint Francis, and was penned by artist Jen Loforese. One line inspired each collage in the book art, and these collages were created at REACH Studio Art Center‘s Teen Open Studio program. The collages also incorporate key words of calligraphy created by artist Kate Darnell. The vision for the book art Instrument of Peace was shaped by artists Jen Loforese, Gail Bohner, and myself as we planned the collage workshops that preceded the exhibit. The book art will be gifted after the exhibit to the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing.

I will be an instrument of peace.

Book art "Instrument of Peace" cover by Jen Loforese.

Where there is hatred, I will spread love.
Where there is wrong, I will do what’s right.
Where there is arguing, I will work to achieve harmony.
Where there is false information, I will speak the truth.
Where there is doubt, I will have faith.
Where there is despair, I will share hope.
Where there are shadows, I will look for sunlight.
Where there is sadness, I will bring joy.

Where someone cannot speak, I will be their voice.
Where someone is rejected, I will open my arms in welcome.
Where someone is troubled, I will offer a word of comfort.
Where someone struggles, I will lift them up and cheer.
Where some see disability, I will see extraordinary gifts.
Where someone is judged, I will share kind words.
Where any are overlooked, I will help the lights of all to shine.

For it is when we comfort others that we find comfort.
It is when we forgive others that we are given second chances.
It is when we are unsure or scared that we are inspired to hope.
It is in facing our greatest challenges that we discover our deepest strengths.
And it is when we feel most lost that we find the way home.

A series about how this community-arts collaboration shaped from idea into action now is available! The new page “The Origins of Words & Afterwards,” provides links to these posts published on my direct blog Dey of the Phoenix. (There are separate subscriptions for each blog, though they share a domain name.)

April 9, 2012, with activists Sandra Cade (left) and Ann Francis (right), both members of the Peace Education Center, using Mod Podge on collages. Photo by MDH.

As project coordinator, it’s my hope that these stories deepen Greater Lansing’s understanding about how Words & Afterwardsevolved into a compelling art exhibit. And more back stories are in the works! Please stay tuned for forthcoming additions.

We also have more pictures available! Check out the new Flickr album from our group session that transformed collages into book art. Thanks to Ruth Borgelt of the Peace Education Center for contributing to this documentation.

Also, tomorrow is Thursday, which means that (SCENE) Metrospace begins its gallery hours for the week: Thursdays, 2-5pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 2-6pm; and Sundays, 12-4pm. Groups able to visit outside of normal gallery hours are invited to contact me about an alternate possibility: MelissaHasbrook @gmail.com; 517.897.5833.

Thanks to Britteny Dee of the State News for the multimedia story “Using words as expression” (February 20, 2012) and the print story “Workshop explores violence and healing” (February 21, 2012) about February workshops. These public sessions were led by visual artist Gail Bohner and myself, poet Melissa Dey Hasbrook, at the Art Studio of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University.

Photo by Karen Hooker

The venue for the February sessions was donated by project partner RCAH Center for Poetry. Some supplies for all the workshops, including March sessions at REACH Studio Art Center with its teen program, are provided by the Peace Education Center (PEC). The PEC received a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs minigrant for this project, from which funds support participating Michigan artists and are distributed by the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.

Additional donations for the workshops have been provided by local businesses and residents:  Everybody Reads Bookstore, Framer’s Edge, Julie Heath-Roy, Joann Neuroth, and Rebecca Payne. Thanks to these contributors, Words and Afterwards is reaching more of Greater Lansing! Individuals and groups are welcome to join this community-arts collaboration. Interest and inquiries may be directed to me by email, MelissaHasbrook[at]gmail.com, or phone, 517.897.5833.