One afternoon while marketing guru, Sandra Salas and friends watched TV, they couldn’t help but notice violent Ciudad Juarez as one of the more weighty portions of the nightly news. The group exchanged thoughts and regrets about the horrific events that have claimed thousands of innocent lives across the border. When venting to others didn’t suffice, Salas, founder of marketing agency, Creative Gong, took the initiative to proactively respond to the war that has nearly destroyed a city dear to her heart.
In 2010, Sandra Salas created Peace of Art: Design for Change with the intention to influence peace amongst her beloved community. Salas shared her ideas with fellow graphic designers and the group collaborated to manifest their protests in creative form. “I have always thought that [designers’] art has a mission. We can educate and create awareness. I truly believe that art and design can influence people—I thought, through posters, we can make people think and through this art, we can contribute to the immense endeavor of attaining peace in our region,” stated Salas.
The exhibit features social protest posters that raise awareness of the violence in Juarez—a result of the messy cartel war. Most importantly, Peace of Art funds help the families directly affected by the ruthless murders.
“As a graphic designer, I felt compelled to do something about it, at least to speak out. I decided to work on a poster that protests against such violence. After discussing it with many of my colleagues, it was interesting to see their perspectives as to the situation in Juarez. I invited them to design a poster that promotes peace and/or protests the violence in Ciudad Juarez and put an exhibit together. The response was phenomenal,” said Sandra Salas, founder of Peace of Art.
According to Sandra Salas, Peace of Art is quite a grassroots project. The exhibit has been featured everywhere from galleries and colleges, to the popular Chalk the Block event that takes place every year in downtown El Paso.
“We have shown the exhibit in El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Aguascalientes, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Tucson, Las Cruces, Dartmouth, Oberlin, Albuquerque, Mexico City, among many other cities. People of all walks of life have seen our exhibit because we try to bring the art to the people. The audience is different every time and so we reach out to many,” explained Salas.
While the Peace of Art movement may be news to some, the project has quickly evolved by producing volume two of the series. “We just did Peace of Art: Design for Change, Volume 2 “PERSPECTIVES.” It will be showing at El Paso City Hall in January of 2012. We plan on continuing to create awareness and taking the exhibit everywhere. We will be printing a book with all the artwork and will be selling those too,” said Salas.
Peace of Art has collaborated with The Border Women’s Foundation to help distribute funds to the victims. The art is available for a donation on www.peaceofartshow.org or by contacting Sandra Salas at Sandra@creativegong.com.