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‘A Peace of My Mind’: A photography exhibit by John Noltner

What do we share in common as a human race? Despite increasing diversity, society remains deeply divided today. Populations often find themselves separated along religious, political and cultural lines. Polarized public dialogues and culture wars intensify divisions within communities.

In response to this, “‘A Peace of My Mind’ introduces us to people we likely would never meet on our own, because of differences in ethnic background, faith or the locations we live. And as we get to know these people, we come to realize that our differences are miniscule in light of the most important trait: that we all want peace,” according to reporter Jeff Strickler of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

John Noltner’s exhibition of black and white photographic portraits of Minnesotans includes statements about peace by each of his subjects.

Founded in 2009, “A Peace of My Mind” is a multimedia art project intended to foster public dialogue about issues related to conflict resolution, civic responsibility and peace. With black and white portraits and oral histories, more than 50 subjects describe what peace means to them, how they work toward it in their lives, and some of the obstacles they encounter.

Those profiled include Holocaust survivors and a homeless man, a Somali refugee and a military chaplain, a pottery instructor and an oil company executive. Artists, volunteers, politicians and business leaders all share their thoughts and inspiring stories in a series that celebrates the common human experience and sense of community.

Open at no charge at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center gallery now through June 30, the exhibit will include a special reception and conversation with the artist on Saturday, June 30.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.