Artists encourage coexistence through art near Old Main

By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 3, 2005

After setting up massive billboards for four days, visitors from Jerusalem's Museum on the Seam can finally relax now that their international art exhibit is in place on the UA campus.

Located on the west end of Old Main, the exhibit, "Coexistence: The Art of Living Together," is a traveling exhibit of artworks transferred onto 9-by-15 foot posters promoting peace.

"I believe that art can contribute something here to the preservation of our society," said Raphie Etgar, initiator and curator of the exhibit.

Etgar has been the art director of the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem since 1999 and first traveled with 24 pieces by Palestinian, Israeli and other artists in 2002. In two years' time, the Coexistence exhibit has grown to 60 pieces by artists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Poland, Bosnia and the United States, including one by Yoko Ono.

Each piece includes the name and country of the artist as well as passages and quotes from various philosophers and authors selected by Etgar and his team. The Inner Connection, a local non-profit organization, is one of several sponsors of the exhibit.

Lori White and Jann Kennedy, founders of The Inner Connection, invited Etgar to bring the exhibit to Tucson.

A piece by Stephen Romaniello, digital arts professor at Pima Community College's west campus, and his friend Andy Rush, a member of Drawing Studio, a private non-profit organization in the Tucson artist community, is the newest addition to the exhibit.

Romaniello and Rush will receive an award for their winning piece, which includes a quote by Albert Einstein in the artwork itself.

The Coexistence exhibit officially opens this evening at 5:30 with a ceremony at Centennial Hall consisting of performances by Panther Creek Intertribal Pow Wow Drummers, flutist R. Carlos Nakai, vocalist Mary Redhouse and others.

Speakers include Etgar, Peter Narrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, UA President Peter Likins and Saundra Taylor, senior vice president of Campus Life.