Empowering Youth Through Creative Collaboration
is Peacebuilding Through Art
“Everybody has part of truth” Ernesto Olmos
“I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again … ” Crazy Horse
Now is the time! You are invited to add a tree of your own with our partner, Create Peace Project
The Forest of Singing Trees
The Rainbow Eucalyptus Singing Tree of One Planet Living
A STEAM project, designed and prepared by students at the Hill Education Center in Novato, California and completed at 2016 Bioneers Conference. One Planet Living is a set of ten principles that allow us to live as if we have one planet instead of five, which the students studied as part of creating the mural. Each branch of the tree represents a principle and people added their wish for that principle at the conference. More will be added at the Sustainable Enterprise Conference, 2017 at Somo Village in Rohnert Park, California.
The Pewen Singing Tree of Radical Love and Social Imagination
Prepared with input from Lyla June Johnston and Courtney Cook, the Monkey Puzzle or Pewen (Native Name) Singing Tree was completed at the University of Texas Cultural Studies Department in Austin for the 2016 Conference on “Education Under Fire: Countering Violence with Peaceful Resistance, Radical Love, and Social Imagination.
The Singing Tree of What Truly Matters
Prepared for a gathering of Developing Alliances with Extraordinary Women, where each participant made an image about a goal that truly matters to them.
The Water Willow Singing Tree
Prepared by the Digital Design, Painting and Product Design students in Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School, Novato, California. Completed at the 2015 Bioneers conference.
The Taveuni Singing Tree of Healing
Prepared by students in Morgantown, West Virginia and made with 150 people on Fiji . Teaching Artist Deborah Delap Palmer initiated and oversaw the project.
The Singing Tree of Femininity
Made with 33 thirteen year old girls from Summit Public School in El Cerrito, Ca. It’s 4 x 8 feet. The tiger represents the fierce need to protect children. The little girl on the swing stands for all innocent children who deserve to be safe. The polar bear symbolizes the feminine stand to protect endangered species. The dolphin symbolizes joy, grace and intelligence. The red tear stands for the suffering and bloodshed of our times. Driving Question: “What is the gift of Femininity?”
The Sarajevo Singing Tree of Renewed Togetherness
15 Youth Leaders from Art Grupa in Sarajevo designed and then hosted the creation of 500 leaves for this Singing Tree. The willow stands for holding the roots together, the flowing leaves for water, tears and sorrow. The pine tree symbolizes the evergreen persistence of the human spirit and the strength of the people of Bosnia. On the earth is music instead of continents, the first few notes of the Bosnian anthem, chosen by the youth as a message of unity for all of the people affected by the floods. 10′ x 6′, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Heregovina, 2014 Driving Question: “What if together we……?”
The Banyan Singing Tree of Interfaith Movement
Made with the Young Peace Leaders from 25 countries of United Religions Initiatve‘s Youth Leadership Institute. Chrissy Field, San Francisco, California, 2014. 8′ x 8′
Madrone Singing Tree of Vision to Action
Commissioned by Bioneers.org, led by youth, 350 people helped create this mural at the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California, 2013. 8′ x 12′. Driving Question: What is your most passionate vision? What actions are arising from your vision?
The Singing Tree of Living Waters
A mosaic made by 1200 students in Stephanie Gleeson Ripka‘s K – 6 Art Classes in Penn’s Valley Area School District, Pennsylvania and students in Ghana. The design was made by a student to honor the connection between young people in these two countries who are studying the effect of global warming on the water and diseases of their lands. 2013 4′ x 6′
The Seasons of Hope Singing Trees
Over 1,000 youth from all socio-economic backgrounds in Marin County, California participated in the first-ever countywide and international mural project led by homeless and at-risk youth. The mural is the culmination of a year-long project spearheaded by 60 youth who engaged over 20 schools and organizations. Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity partnered with Unity Through Creativity to create a visual model of joyful cooperation rooted in nature. The structure of the murals is inspired by the Shift Network’s vision of 2012 – The Winter of Wellness, the Spring of Sustainability, the Summer of Peace and the Autumn of Abundance.
Each 8′ x 8′ panel portrays the same endangered California Live Oak tree in a different season, addressing the question “What kind of world do you want to live in.” A caterpillar on winter symbolizes the human race as a devourer of resources. The chrysallis on spring represents the transformation of our institutions, dissolving and restructuring. The butterfly emerges in summer as the human being that identifies with all living beings. And in the autumn, eggs are laid for the next evolutionary cycle. The murals will travel throughout the Bay Area, including for the Bioneers Conference. The young creators will be doing live presentations about the positive messages the murals bring. As we move in the direction of the images we create, Marin’s young people are leading the way with their fresh vision and hope.
Jewel Singing Tree of Kindness
Currently being created under the guidance of Julia Rose of Chicago who is using the mural as the backbone of her movie “Making Man Kind.” 2013-2014. 8′x 12′ Driving Question: What does kindness feel and look like?
Elm Singing Tree of Appreciation –
The first Singing Tree unified conflicting cliques within a rural high school, plus private school students and homeschoolers. 1000 participants, 2001, Rappahannock County, Virginia. The Driving Question: What do you love most on this earth?
Apple Singing Tree of Appreciation –
Connected all-white and all-black high schools in a common creative project, which also served children with severe disabilities from the Children’s Institute, 800 participants, 2002, Pittsburgh, PA. The Driving Question: What do you love most on this earth?
Linden Singing Tree of Appreciation –
Connected all-white and all-black high schools in Pittsburgh, PA, in a common creative project, used as a springboard for conflict resolution training, 800 participants, 2002, Pittsburgh, PA. The Driving Question: What do you love most on this earth?
Maple Singing Tree of Appreciation –
Connected all-white and all-black high schools in Pittsburgh, PA, in a common creative project, which also served elders from Generations Together. The project was used as a springboard for conflict resolution training, 800 participants, 2002, Pittsburgh, PA. The Driving Question: What do you love most on this earth?
Gingko Singing Tree of Appreciation –
Connected all-white and all-black high schools in Pittsburgh, PA, in a common creative project, served sick children at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, low-income students in Peru and Sierra Leone, reached out to teens in Germany, adults from Afghanistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua used as a springboard for conflict resolution training, 800 participants, 2002, Pittsburgh, PA. On the left are children from Peru. The Driving Question: What do you love most on this earth?
The People Tree of Love –
Orphans who lost their parents in a tidal wave in northern India put their loss into the creation of a Singing Tree with hearts for leaves. 100 participants, 2003, Gujarat, India. Driving Question “What do you love the most in your life?
Willow Singing Tree of Gratitude –
Connected teens to 5-10 year-olds create images of thankfulness in two weeks. The painting was displayed at a hospital. 65 participants, 2004, Morgantown, West Virginia, sponsored by Art in the Parks. The Driving Question: What are you most thankful for?
Willow Singing Tree to Honor Native Americans –
Connected all 542 federally registered Native American tribes in one place, on permanent display in the Department of Interior, 12 participants, Washington, DC. Conceived of by Marion Hansson of the Kiowa tribe, curator of BIA’s art collection, 2004. Driving Question: What is the Wisdom, Knowledge, Mission and Challenges of the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
Pine Singing Tree of Gratitude –
Connected high school students to breast cancer community as well as their own thankfulness. Used to raise awareness about breast cancer 65 participants, 2005 in Red River, Minnesota. Driving Question: What are you most thankful for?
The Tulip Singing Tree of Freedom from Addiction –
Involved a low-income community and Muslim youth in envisioning alternatives to addiction with teenagers taking a lead role, Luan Prill’s art class, McKees Rocks High School, PA, 800 participants, 2005, Sponsored by Tobacco Free Allegheny, presented at area high schools as “Creativity is the Healthy High”. Driving question: “How do you cope with pain without hurting your body or breaking the law?”
The Cherry Singing Tree of Hope –
Connected the students, staff and families of Helen S. Faison Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA with Chinese, Hmong, Hispanic and African-American elders in San Francisco, increasing geographical awareness and reading literacy. 800 participants, 2006. Driving Question: “What gives you hope?”
The Aspen Singing Tree of Heroes –
Connected families in crisis, people in homeless shelters, people in villages in Peru and Mexico to high school students in Elbert, CO. 800 participants. Displayed at Denver’s Welllington Webb Building and City and County Building, Denver, CO. 2010. Maria Feekes organized this Singing Tree Driving question: “Who is your hero?”
Maria Feekes heard about the Singing Trees from the ArtsUSA website and organized the Aspen Singing Tree of Heroes, partnering with Colorado’s Elbert High School art teacher, Tamma. 800 people from homeless shelters, women’s abuse centers, children from Peru (see below), Mexico and Haiti all participated. The high school students chose three aspen trees to represent unity because an aspen forest is one organism. The mural is on display in the Denver mayor’s office.
Bay Laurel Tree of Worldview Literacy –
Connected educators and healers from 5 countries (US, Canada, Australia, Holland and Germany) to spread the concept of Worldview Literacy. 75 participants. On display at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA 2010. Driving Question: “What is your wish for Worldview Literacy?”
Lily and Detroit helped to make the Bay Laurel Singing Tree .
Oak Singing Tree for Autism –
Our first virtual Singing Tree, all those affected by Autism are invited to creatively share their sparks and challenges, envision a positive future, and share knowledge about Autism by sending a photo or jpeg of a work of art to here. Driving questions: “What do I pay attention to?” and/or “What is my wish for autism?” This Singing Tree’s mission is to raise awareness about autism. People from all over the world are participating. Images are uploaded to the Zumyn website to be included into a photomosaic of the painting below.
Abe from Oak Hill School, CA, pays attention to the horse he rides.
The Fig Singing Tree of the Child
Artists, elders, elementary, middle and high school students in Novato, Oakland and Santa Rosa, California, survivors of the child sex trade in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand and children in Palestine all contributed. Driving Question: “What is your wish for children?”
“My wish is for a green and free Palestine.” Marah
Cheryl Perara, founder of One Child, took pieces of the Singing Tree to Cambodia where the young people who she helped escaped the sex trade contributed their wish for children.
The Cypress Singing Tree of Peace
600 middle school students at Everett Middle School in San Francisco helped make this Singing Tree, as Unity Through Creativity partners the Create Peace Project. The school lost a student to violence ten years ago and has since then, dedicated one week a month to the development of a peaceful culture. Driving question: “What does Peace look like to you?”
The Sycamore Singing Tree of Possibilities
All the parts of this Singing Tree were prepared by the Dawn Weikum’s art students of A.P. Gianinni Middle School in San Francisco. 8th grader Rebecca Ray came up with the design, using the light to represent possiblity. It was commissioned by the Institute of Noetic Sciences and will be completed at San Francisco’s Earth Day celebration. Driving question: “What is your vision of a positive future?”
The mural was erected in downtown San Francisco for Earth Day.
The Singing Tree of Life
Made in one day with 85 young peace leader from 26 countries at the Institute for Civil Leadership in Vancouver, Canada, 2011. The students shared the trees of their countries and decided to make a tree with leaves from different trees. They invented a new tree. The yin-yang includes thumb prints from all 85 participants. Driving Question: “What inspired action are you bringing home from this training?”
Maple Singing Tree of Success
Commissioned by Oakland, California ‘s Family Partnership Program with social services and families they serve, 75 people participated in a three hour session with theme of “Celebrating Family”, 2011.
Nakavika Singing Tree of Fiji
Created by art teacher Debora DeLap Palmer of Morgantown, West Virginia. Her elementary students made the parts in West Virginia and she brought them to Fiji where the children filled them in, completing the mural in a week, 2012.
Art supplies and medicine were carried in to complete the project.
The Redwood Singing Tree of Biodiversity
1300 people in the A.P. Giannini Middle School community created this 14.5′ high x 8′ wide, honoring the different life forms in the eco-system that the students live in. The DNA is interwoven with the tree trunk, an idea from a 7th grader to symbolize that human beings are part of the natural world. Driving Question: “How do we honor the diversity of life and cultures in our community?”
The Diversity Singing Tree
Made by Sonda Folk Cheesebrough with her elementary students at Monongalia County Schools in Morgantown, West Virginia. Each leaf represents a different species of tree, to symbolize different cultures, races and personalities.