Peace comes to the West Side ... in a museum

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By DELORES MCCAIN

There is an interesting museum in the heart of Garfield Park at the Gold Dome Building, 100 N. Central Park Ave., called the Peace Museum. Founded in 1981 by Mark Rogovin, a leading Chicago muralist, and Marjorie Craig Benton, former U.S. Representative to UNICEF, the museum is dedicated to "peace" through the arts.

The current exhibit, "Wounded in America," has been on exhibit since March 11 and runs through May 1. The exhibition shows photos of the violence that occurs in the United States by handguns. Every six minutes a person is shot in the U.S., according to exhibition writer Stephanie Arena and documented by photographer Robert Drea.

Lindsay Woge, one of the museum's administrative volunteers talked about what's coming up in the future:

"Our next exhibit commemorates the 60th anniversary of the nuclear holocaust, and so we'll be having survivors coming over from Nagasaki* to tell their stories. We will be having theater groups do storytelling. We will have lectures pertaining to the whole nature of the bombing tragedy--artifacts on display that actually withstood the bombing. And one of my focuses is how we can implement programming for youth in the community to get involved in a storytelling project or something of that nature because it's a topic we need to address.

AWN: Do you have any photos of the current war going on in Iraq?

Woge: "Actually our last exhibit was called 'Occupation,' and it was the work of Stephanie St. Clair, a renowned photojournalist. Her angle was to go into Iraq and refuse to be embedded with the military, so she was able to depict a really balanced account of what it's like to be in Iraq during wartime. That show came down at the end of February.

"When this exhibit comes down May 1, a wonderful exhibit in the Rotunda will begin April 29, and it's called 'God Bless the Child.' It is the work of Arthur Richardson, who is the manager of Park District Central. They're photographs of African-American children, which is what he is interested in." There will be a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the opening reception on the 29th. Mr. Richardson's black-and-white images capture the realism that is everyday life of African-American children through their soulful eyes.

Photographer for the museum Beth Shandles said, "We do need volunteers. We are a very diverse museum, based in Chicago, but we're really a international as well as national. Being here at Garfield Park we really want to reach the community. A lot people think because we're national and international, that is our sole focus. It isn't. We really want to reach the West Side community. That is why I'm very excited about our next exhibit. Because of staffing and funding, we're not here everyday. We're open Wednesday through Sunday, weekdays 10 a.m. to closing, and weekends 1 p. m. to 4 p.m. We'd like to be open more hours to serve the community and we hope to get the community more involved in that volunteer process and welcome them in. We are here for the West Side community and surrounding communities. We want to reach church groups, CAPS, educators and all organizations in the community."

Upcoming event: God Bless the Child--opening reception, April 29 (5-8:30 p.m.), exhibit runs through June 29.

If you are interested in being a volunteer with the Peace Museum, call 773/638-6450.

* Nagasaki is a city in Japan where the second atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. On Aug. 5, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima and three days later on Nagaskai. A quarter of a million people were killed.

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