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Updated: Dec 2

Dear Friends of Unity Through Creativity,

We are deeply grateful to all of you for your support on El Paso's Giving Day. We exceeded our goal of $5000 by $6200, raising $11,200!! Each of you who made a contribution helps us bring our Peace Building Through Art programs to underserved communities. We have also been included in the giving program of Coffee for the Arts. You can support us by supporting them.

The images above were created out of the hearts and imagination of 11-year-olds in sixth grade in the Piner-Olivet School District in Santa Rosa, California. These images can give us strength in these times when we are forced into sound bite horror, as Sherri Mitchell describes our witness of innocents suffering in the Middle East. These sixth-graders offer us connection to peace and compassion through their depictions of swans and ospreys; elephants, giraffes, wolves and bears; the Pomo ancestors; and the otherworldliness of an alien on Jupiter. These children offer us connection to the innocence and optimism of our own inner child.

Unity Through Creativity completed three murals with 6th graders in Santa Rosa, California. We listened to their voices and made a space for them to express their vision of possibilities together. Below is the 8' x 12' The Arroyo Willow And Live Oak Singing Tree of Differences and Appreciation, made by a Lead Design Team of 43 6th graders of Schaefer Charter Elementary School in ten days. Lili Lopez and I facilitated the mural. One student said, "I’m taking all of the wars and harm into Peace and Freedom through making this mural with my classmates."

The Willow and Redwood Tree of Healing and Freedom From Fear, co-created by 26 6th graders at Jack London Elementary School was facilitated by Sweta Chawla and Cynthia Caruso.

"The project gave me courage to help others and to have peace. I wish I had done this when I was 6 years old." -Julian

Leslie Rein and Lili Lopez facilitated The Madrone and Redwood Singing Tree of Peace and Justice below made with 27 sixth graders as the Lead Design Team at Olivet Elementary School.

"Bullying people for being different, being disrespectful to others and violence were all taken away because of this wonderful mural."

"I learned that we can have peace and work with each other. I also learned that just because we are different, we can learn to appreciate that."

Please consider supporting the work of the Singing Tree Project. Through your donation, you create the opportunity for children and adults to have a tangible experience that we are all in this together and that each of us can grow beyond our small selves to embrace the world.

Thank you for your support.

Laurie and the UTC Team

Updated: 5 days ago

Detail, The Afghan Singing Tree Mural of Women's Strength and Freedom

Dear Friends of Unity Through Creativity,

We have been busy over the summer.

El Paso County Commissioners proclaim El Paso an International City of Peace

El Paso County Commissioners proclaim El Paso to be included in the International City of Peace's network, through an effort led by Unity Through Creativity. This official Resolution happened on Sept 11th, the 22nd anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers. We chose this day to emphasize the dire need to build a local and worldwide Culture of Peace.The language of the resolution was crafted by an intergenerational, intercultural team made up of people from the Interfaith Alliance of the Southwest, Eco-El Paso and Unity Through Creativity. Please take the time to read the Resolution here.

Is your community one of the 390 Cities of Peace around the world? If not, what would your vision, mission and goals be for your community to build a Culture of Peace? Please contact us and/or International Cities of Peace if you’d like to explore this possibility.

Celebrating International Day of Peace, Sept. 23rd,

Keystone Heritage Park 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Unity Through Creativity is excited to facilitate the second annual celebration of El Paso’s International Day of Peace. The UN's theme this year is Actions for Peace - Ambitions for the SDG Goals. We are one of over 4800 celebrations in the US. If you are here in El Paso, we hope to see you.

Inspired by Sister Mary Soh, who wrote a song that we sang at the County Commissioner's court room, we've added a fourth domain to our Peace celebration - Peace with Universe. Sister Mary and Juno Z, a Singing Tree Mural Facilitator-in-training, share the song with you.

Designed by UTC’s graphic artist Lili Lopez, we are giving these beautiful buttons away at the event. Come and get yours.

You can see the vendors and speaking/performance schedule of the International Day of Peace celebration here.

UTC exhibiting at El Paso SpaceFest

We're also partnering with Insights Science for El Paso's SpaceFest at the El Paso Airport on Sept. 22, from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. In addition to exhibiting The Future Accelerator Singing Tree that honors astronaut Edgar Mitchel, we'll be hosting creative experiences for the public with the Isaac Art and Wellness Center and Eco-El Paso. Our goal is to affirm the enormous creativity that lies within every person as we connect to people who are exploring the heavens.

We are glad to celebrate with you the joy and wonder that's possible when people create together.

Updated: Dec 2

East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA), Oakland, CA

The Singing Tree Mural of Strength and Happiness -

Ahmir, 13, Painting the Dragon

Dear Friends of Unity Through Creativity,

No matter how traumatized, isolated or jaded our young people seem, just below the surface there is a heroic, big picture thinker waiting to be expressed, wanting to connect. It's true of adults as well. That is the experience of 21 years of making collaborative Singing Tree murals.

The Singing Tree Mural of Strength and Happiness, facilitated by Leslie Rein and Diana Sciaretta in EOBA's after-school program, includes the Singing Tree Project's first dragon.

This quote from @Kdawg0_0 popped up on Instagram yesterday: "I just told my wife I'm sorry we have to raise children in these dystopian times. She replied, 'Never feel sorry for raising dragon slayers in a time when there are actual dragons.' "

The dragons of our time include climate chaos, gun violence, racism, ecosystem degradation and wealth inequality, to name a few. We slay the dragons by creatively envisioning the positive future we want together - then taking action to build the multi-racial and inclusive society we know is possible. We do this in the context of our rare and precious planet hanging in space.

But wait! The youth from EOBA look upon the dragon as their guardian, not something to slay. The winged beast is a protector against violence and despair, showering love upon the children.

Fabian, aged nine, said "When I took the first step on top of the ladder and saw this painting, I didn't realize that kids could have this in their mind... I didn't realize they could have all of this, ALL OF THIS MURAL, in them... This mural could change our lives, because we have joy, we have community, we have a great time in our lives, enjoy your life." The young people created their protective dragon as they designed, built and painted together.

We thank the Peaceful World Foundation and EOBA for funding this exciting project. With love,

Laurie and the Team at UTC

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