The children’s book, PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON, written in verse by author Carol Swartout Klein tells the story of the community outpouring of hundreds of artists and volunteers who worked in Ferguson and along South Grand to transform boarded up windows into works of art with messages of hope, healing and unity.
Published locally by Layla Dog Press, all proceeds after printing costs will benefit north county-area youth and art programs as well as the businesses and employees affected by damage or loss of business. Cost of the 48-page book is: $15.95 for softback and $25.95 for hardback. Pre-orders for the book can be made at: www.paintingforpeacebook.com. For inquiries about the book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The book will be available for widespread distribution in January.
Excerpt from Painting for Peace in Ferguson:
They drew pictures of Peace
Of Hope and of Light
That show Love’s even stronger
Than the darkest of nights
Klein, who is sponsoring the project and who grew up in the Ferguson area, was inspired by the Mister Rogers quote that reminds children to always look for helpers when scary things happen. “It occurred to me that if adults are having a hard time processing and talking about the events of the last three months — how are children coping? So we designed this book to be a tool for parents and teachers to begin the conversation. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, it was so inspiring to see people young and old, black and white come together to transform boarded up windows from something intimidating to children into something so positive.”
Centered on a child-friendly poem penned by Klein, the book does not go into the specifics of what caused the unrest, but rather focuses on the way the community came together to begin the healing process through the art of the Paint for Peace effort. “We did not go into detail because we felt it was important for parents to be able to talk about what happened in Ferguson in a way that was age appropriate for their child and that reflects each family’s perspective,” said Klein. A website is being developed that will include additional resources for parents and teachers to help them talk about the issues raised in Ferguson.
Award winning local book designer Michael Kilfoy notes that the book will feature photographs of many of the works of art. “We have a fairly complete photographic inventory of all of the art in both the South Grand and Ferguson area.”
Publisher Kristina Blank Makansi of Layla Dog Press said that if the book proves popular there may be other projects that do showcase all of the artwork produced.
“We recognize that this is just one step in a long healing process for our community,” said Klein. As the final line from the book states, “The work is not finished, there’s much more to be done. But this art shows the spirit of a new Ferguson.”
Funds from the sale of the book will be deposited with the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation a 501(c)(3) organizations. Donations made to that fund above and beyond the price of the book are tax-deductible.