Art for Peace 2011

The 2nd annual Art for Peace Contest for high school students was a great success! We received over 55 entries on diversity, self-expression, identity, and creating a more peaceful community. After judging submissions with the help of the Syracuse Cultural Workers, we honored the winners at our reception on April 26 at the ArtRage Gallery. Students proudly shared their work and received art-related prizes. Georgia Popoff, local poet and long-time SPC supporter, and Quraysh Ali Lansana (co-authors of Our Difficult Sunlight, anew book about creating poetry in the classroom) delighted the audience by reading as well. Visit to view full size posters.
–Elisabeth Hess

What if I looked just like you?
Do you think life would be fun?
Do you think the people would shine as unique?
What if I looked just like you?
I am from the blue sky
Where the earth turns orange when it rains
Where are you from?
What are you good at?
Well, I’m proud of where I come from
Heritage has taken me to another level.
What has your grandmother taught you?
Mine taught me to be strong and independent
To have a smile every time anyone meets my eyes.
What has your mother taught you?
My mother taught me to cook,
That awesome Cuban style chicken
Makes anyone’s mouth water with desire.
What has your father taught you?
My father taught me to be respectful
To love me, my culture and others
To not judge by color or race
Because it is not nice to judge a book by its cover.
To be Hispanic or African American, White or even Chinese
It shapes your identity
I am responsible; I am the best I can be
I am me and my Cuban heritage has taught me that
I am tolerant enough but I don’t like injustice
I am the one writing this poem
I am Hispanic
I am Latina
I am me and I love you and I appreciate you
Where are you from?
Where does your heritage come from?

–Yadira Junco, Nottingham, 2nd Place Poetry


“If Everybody Found Something That They Loved to Do…There Would Be More Peace”

I think I was born with iambic pentameter in my veins.
My words flow through my bloodstream and out of my
mouth like capillary action causing reactions.
Shifting syllables and letters
To the rhythm of my stride…
My voice cracks…but is mine.
The eloquence of my words…so powerful
Cannot be fully understood.
Comprehension is therefore misrepresented
By someone who
Has not undergone my journey.
The words that I later read on paper
Do not seem to be mine
Tracing the letters through my mind
Quickly, yet discretly maneuvering through time.
The words perpetrate my soul
And infiltrate my spirit
And all others who hear it.
The pencil and paper
I was born to use.
Poetry takes me to a place of peace beyond earthly dimension
A scribbled, erased space of heavenly extension.
Showing me exactly who I am.
As a poet laureate and author,
I stand
Shaky, yet confident.
All the while
Failing to fail.
Preparing to prevail.
With my pen and paper…
I find my peace
By saying my piece.

–Kristian Tull, Corcoran, 1st Place Poetry