Mayor Brennan to tout the value of art in international peace talks

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan is planning to meet with participants in a unique Seeds of Peace course at Maine College of Art this evening, where he’ll discuss with a group of international artists the value of their expression to the global peace movement.

Educators and artists began taking part in the Expressive Arts; Educational Action course three days ago. Here’s a little more about the program, as provided by the city of Portland in an announcement today:

The course, which runs from July 23 through August 7 at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Otisfield, aims to connect and cultivate local and international peace-builders who believe in the power of the arts and the critical role they play in creating a better, more peaceful future. Participants have traveled from across the country as well as from Afghanistan, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, India, Israel, Pakistan, and Palestine to participate in the program. Today’s event is an opportunity for participants to meet with Mayor Brennan, local artists and educators to discuss best practices and ways to develop action plans they can bring back to their homeland to educate and empower youth through the expressive arts.

Michael Brennan (BDN file photo by John Clarke Russ)

Here’s a statement by Brennan, who will make an appearance today around 5 p.m., on the topic:

Art can have a transformative effect in the community. It can connect us to the environment, to each other, to a sense of greater purpose and it can help tear down the invisible walls that separate us. Art can help us discover a totally new idea, our sense of humor, a bigger vision or help us reclaim a sense of possibility and I am proud to support the Seeds of Peace in their effort to spread the power of art around the globe.

Also worth noting, as part of this program, 35 artists and teachers from nine countries in conflict are planning a performance on Aug. 5 at Portland Stage Company at 25 Forest Ave. Doors open for that show at 6:30 p.m. with music to begin at 7 p.m. — all are invited, donations are welcome.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.