A Grassroots Project to Express Visions of Peace and Well-Being for the Planet
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends a tiny ripple of hope. Crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these simple ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy
In March, 2007, a group of friends were having dinner. One of them, Jean Bakewell, shared an idea she’d had – to transform an unsightly chain link fence that runs along the railroad tracks near her home in Ashland, Oregon, into a Peace Fence, a place where artists, non-artists, writers, children, poets, grandparents – people of all stripes – could post positive expressions about the human spirit and hopes for peace and the planet’s well-being. The Peace Fence was born.
In the ensuing weeks, word of the project spread – enthusiasm is a contagious thing. Seven women organized the effort, but dozens of people contributed to the fence. And so, on the dark, blustery Saturday night before Mother’s Day, 2007, a large group gathered to fasten 67 fabric panels to the fence – a Mother’s Day surprise for the city of Ashland, Oregon.
Many more panels were subsequently added, and throngs of visitors walked the fence, many adding written comments of appreciation to a guest book posted nearby. The panels express each contributor’s vision about the human spirit and hopes for peace. There are intricate quilts and beautifully sewn works, oil paintings on canvas, collages, batik and tie-died works, hand painted signs and statements. We intentionally kept partisan politics out of the project. You’ll see no candidates or issues promoted; the Peace Fence is for everyone of all political persuasions.
The story continued. People in other communities, and indeed around the world, inspired by the Fence, created new panels which were hung among the original ones.
If you view every page on this web site, you’ll see photos of all the Peace Fence panels. There are over two hundred of them.
Update 2009: In the summer of 2008, the entire Peace Fence was destroyed by vandals. But the Peace Fence is neither gone nor forgotten. Out of the rubble, a new project has emerged: Ashland’s Peace Wall. Artist Kay Cutter and along with our partner locksmith dupont, are transferring photographic images of every Peace Fence panel (over 200 of them) onto ceramic tiles.