Picturing Peace

Lesson Plan & Activities

Picturing Peace is an arts program that has now been conducted in 25 upper elementary school classrooms in the U.S. and Northern Ireland. Its goal is the development of peace-loving students and emerging peace-building citizens. Drs. Robert and Jill The Becks piloted this program as an emotional healing response to the Columbine mass shooting and 9/11, and it has evolved into a community-oriented and intensive vocabulary and visual educational approach. The science of socio-emotional development argues that the best method for improving peaceful feelings is through vocabulary and the arts. In Picturing Peace students are taught several synonyms of peace such as calm, friendly, caring, and unity and then use the arts, photography, dramatic studio movement, and writing to visualize the situations in which peace occurs.

In this video, Dr. Robert Beck narrates the concept over the work and writings of the 2020 Picturing Peace participants, from Waterbury’s Rotella and Maloney Magnet Schools.


Call to Artists

Picturing Peace in the Pandemic

The Mattatuck Museum announces a call to young artists to submit photographs to a contest for best photographic representation of one of five themes relating to peace in the time of pandemic.

Winners chosen by Curator Cynthia Roznoy and Director of Education Heather Whitehouse.

While Picturing Peace has always emphasized peace, these are unusual times. Today there is an Invisible Enemy that is a great disruptor of personal and community peace. The photographs we take now can act as shields against the Covid-19 virus, capturing within a picture’s frame our fears and anxieties, but also showing images of strength and determination.

As we confront the latest assault on our feelings of peace, the coronavirus pandemic, the Picturing Peace method of using language and photography can help cope with the worries all of us have. Search your emotions to express through photographs how you feel about this daily threat. What is your approach to fighting the enemy? Exercise your imagination to create photographs and short narratives that help you—and everyone—overcome this disruption to our peace of mind.

Start by exploring these questions: Why is peace important? Where is it important to have peace? Can I contribute to peace?

Follow this lesson plan to learn more about five themes of peace for this week.

Museum staff will judge submitted photographs and share the five (5) selected winners on our website. A $100 award will go to the winner of each of the five (5) themes ($500 total). Participants may submit one image for each of the five themes, but cannot be selected as a winner of more than one theme.

Winners will be chosen based on the photograph that best represents the five themes:

Theme One – An Oasis of Calm
Theme Two – Finding Happiness
Theme Three – Hero Peacemakers
Theme Four – Finding Balance
Theme Five – Shrine of Peace in the Pandemic

Please send images to Heather@mattmuseum.org indicating the theme you picture relates to, the photographer’s name, and preferred contact information. Also, we encourage you to share your photos through social media with #PicturingPeace.

Contest Dates

Monday, June 1 – Submissions open
Friday, June 19 – Deadline for submissions
Friday, June 26 – Winners announced on www.mattmuseum.org

Lesson Plans and Activities

Lesson Plan: Picturing Peace
Activity: Create Your Own Cairn
Activity: Shadowboxes