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Peace Symposium to Explore the Art of Nonviolent Social Change

26th Annual Event Planned for Oct. 11 This year’s Westheimer Peace Symposium is emphasizing nonviolence as creative expression and a skill that can be acquired and honed. The 26th annual, daylong event will be held Oct. 11 at Wilmington College. Ruth Brindle, chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, explained the idea behind the theme “The Art of Nonviolence.” “From the creative and imaginative nonviolent actions of the American Civil Rights Movement, to dance, quilts, music and — now — social media devoted to social justice, the 2016 Westheimer Peace Symposium explores the art of nonviolent social change in the past and present,” she said. The day’s activities commence with the screening of the 2014 historical drama film, Selma, at 10 a.m., in Heiland Theatre. It is designed to convey the idea of “imagining nonviolence.” Selma is based on the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches led by civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis. At 1 p.m., a panel will discuss “The Art of Social Media for Social Change” in Heiland Theatre. Panelists include Rachel Durso, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology and black studies at Washington College; Toan Lam, founder and CIO (chief inspiration officer) of Go Inspire Go, a Website for which he creates inspirational videos featuring regular people that use their talents and resources to better their communities; and Zellie Imani, an educator/activist who will speak on the possibilities of “hashtag activism” changing the world. Durso and local guests will hold workshops highlighting “The Art of Nonviolence for Social Change,” at 2:30 p.m., in various classrooms in Boyd Cultural Arts Center, followed, at 4 p.m. in Harcum Art Gallery, with a program titled “Quilting Nonviolence: The African-American Experience. Artist Riche Richardson will present on her acclaimed art quilts and their meanings. Quilting stations for producing a “Peace Quilt” will be open from noon to 6:30 p.m. in the Peace Resource Center and Boyd Cultural Arts Center. At 5 p.m., a reception in honor of those artists whose works appear in Harcum Art Gallery will be held along with awards presented for the themed art competition. The Peace Symposium Show runs Oct. 11 through 21 and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Symposium culminates with a 7:30 p.m. concert in Heiland Theatre by The World House Choir titled “Performing Justice and Peace.” This new community choir in the Miami Valley, directed by Dr. Catherine Roma, emeritus professor of music at Wilmington College, sings to promote peace, social justice and diversity. In addition, several activities related to the Symposium theme are occurring in the days prior to the 11th, starting with “Creating Peace through Play” in conjunction with Arcadia Learning Commons, Oct. 8, 1 p.m., in the McCoy Room of Kelly Center. The evening before the Symposium, Oct. 10, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. in Heiland Theatre. This event, which is co-sponsored by the Issues & Artists Series and Activities Programming Board, is designed to get students and others thinking about creativity and how the arts can be used to communicate messages in a nonviolent manner. Also, the Meriam R; Hare Quaker Heritage Center is in the midst of the exhibit run titled “Boycott: The Art of Economic Activism,” which features a collection of historic boycott posters from almost 20 boycott movements of the 20th century. The QHC will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 11 while normal gallery hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.