Dear Friends of MAG,

We hope you have marked your calendars for this extraordinary collaborative exhibit:  "Art in the Peaceable Kingdom" .

Our opening will be the night of the  Traverse City Art Walk, May 4th, 5-9PM , at both Michigan Artists Gallery (MAG) and Higher Art Gallery. (If crowds are not to your liking, the  show will run through mid-June .)

At MAG, we will have  22 three dimensional mixed media works and
33 wall pieces interpreting  Edward Hicks' 1833 Peaceable Kingdom . Higher Art Gallery will have 20 of their artists doing the same. The show is diverse, thoughtful and important for the times we are in.

Below are just a few samples of the artwork created for this exhibit, together with a statement from each artist describing the inspiration at the heart of his or her piece. Some of the works are moving, some are humorous, while others are simply beautiful.

Come vote for your favorite piece from May 4th to June 15th!

Our best,

Sue Ann, Margaret, & Dea
MAG art
Peaceable Kingdom: A Global History of Man by Diane Hawkey
I tried to find a balance between the 19th century optimism of Edward Hicks and the skepticism of 21st century. I was deeply affected by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. I cast 17 semiautomatic rifle bullets with flowers in honor of each of the young students. My piece is mounted on a vintage high school text book 'A Global History of Man'. It made me doubt that there would ever be a peaceable kingdom on this earth, but the activism that was awakened in our young people has reassured me that the world can change and there is hope for a peaceable kingdom.
Diane Hawkey
Back side of Diane Hawkey's piece with the names of the 17 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Diane Hawkey
The Sociable Kingdom by Steve Wirtz
Maybe if Edward Hicks painted another 62 versions of his vision he would have come up with something similar to this. Okay, maybe not. But aside from getting a little anthropomorphic here, my version suggests what peace between species could really look like in today's modern society.
Steve Wirtz
Peaceable Party by David Bigelow
Edward Hicks' Peaceable Kingdom is his idea of the day when we return to the conditions in the Garden of Eden when there are no predators and prey--the leopard lies down with the lamb. But he also celebrates the founding of Pennsylvania as his idea of a political ideal--no more religious persecution for him.   My animals are not physical enemies but I'm thinking more of a political miracle. Now that I've finished it, I see how deep my distrust is: if they are happy, it may not be long until I'm not happy. I want an ideal but--it is very hard to let go of distrust.      
David Bigelow
Peace Fan by Margaret White
Fans have been a recurrent subject in my paintings for many years. I'm very drawn to the Romanesque arched - shape curving over the top and the limitless possibilities of what may be housed within and around it. I feel the soft breeze the fan creates as it wafts back and forth. I hear the muted call of the trumpet and the soothing lilt of the violin. The adoring cherubs add celestial grace to the tableau. These elements speak of peace to me.
Margaret White
Prayer for a Peaceable Kingdom (Prayer Wheel) by Johnna Langen
With my artwork, I enjoy creating- trees, animals, and objects that seem to be pulled from the illustrated pages of a children's book and brought to life with sculptural dimension and some level of movement. Edward Hicks' painting, Peaceable Kingdom, with his unique perspective and stylized animals, gives me a great foundation of ideas for my inspiration. In 'Prayer for a Peaceable Kingdom', I use my recycled mail to make paper clay with which I create a prayer wheel. As a mixed media artist I think this particular medium seems to represent the same cycle of connectedness and becoming in which I capture my own prayer for peace. The animals want to come to life, to lift themselves from their painted acrylic moorings and they show us people how to do it - this peace thing, if we would only pay attention. In 'Prayer for a Peaceable Kingdom', I seek to take Hicks' painting and move it from a static linear piece with edges and boundaries, to one of sculpture without beginning or end that wishes to breathe the prayer of peace into the kingdom that Hicks once imagined, by using the model of the Tibetan prayer wheel. When spinning the wheel, with its contained prayers, the Tibetan Buddhists believe the movement gives energy to the words contained inside, from prayer to praying. In this same way, I have created a physical prayer container in which one can contain different prayers, from many people, so that just one person can pray for the lot of us with a simple spin of the wheel. A 'Prayer for a Peaceable Kingdom', Hicks' kingdom, our kingdom-God's Kingdom of nature, beast, and man.
Johnna Langen
Meditating Blue Bear: Vishudda by Leanne Schnepp
The Vishuddha, truth or blue chakra, is located in the throat area. This fifth chakra is thus related to communication, creativity and expression. Opening this fifth chakra allows you to speak the truth. When we know and can speak our truth with love and compassion, we can create a more peaceful self and thus a more peaceful world. Namaste.
Leanne Schnepp
Peaceable Kingdom or Pandora/s Box? by Julie Kradel
Was the ultimate goal of William Penn and his followers to be peaceful toward the Native Americans? Does the lamb ever really feel at peace with the lion? What really is the true meaning of living together in peace?
Julie Kradel
Peaceable Moves by Mitch Truemner
We all live near a preverbal cliff, some of us are well aware of that, some of us are much more oblivious. Be careful, it can be a long way down. We are ALL trying to avoid the cliffs while playing the game. Some of us participate, while others would rather be bystanders, watching all the action. The participants need to be careful, the bystanders need not complain of the outcome. ... Every move has consequences. Choose your next move wisely... while you are making your moves, realize that we are all different from one another. But our commonality is that we are all doing our best to win and not fall off the edge.
Mitch Truemner
Peace & the Animals...No Politicians by Scott Randolph
Edward Hicks, the artist who inspired my piece, painted his version of the the passage from Isaiah 62 times over the course of his life. The idea that the "wolf shall dwell with lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat" is a potent metaphor for a peace that is so close if only we allow spirit into our hearts. There are so many cases of children being raised by animals, and I have always taken this a sign of a child's innocence and pure, non-threatening nature. My piece highlights this connection and possibility. Hicks included a sub narrative of the Quakers meeting with Native Americans in peace and harmony, and while this was a noble vision and wish, it was not to be. I chose to portray a world with just the children and animals, as the words and deeds of men and politics seem to constantly get in the way of fulfilling this prophecy. Peace in the heart of a child and an animal is something I can believe in.
Scott Randolph
Peaceable Kingdom I by Pat Custer Denison
There are three prints in my series "The Peaceable Kingdom" after the famous series of 70+ paintings by Edward Hicks (1780 -1849). I am quite skeptical about the sweet notion that prey and predators will ever lie down in peace, still the chance to do a group (of admittedly rather jittery animals) in such a group was fun. The story of Edward Hicks painting his heart out and disturbing his Quaker elders by not being "plain" enough has its own appeal. He learned his ornamental trade at 14 years old (highly decorative horse carriages and sign painting). In his 20's he became a Quaker and tried to comply with his elders' stricture that his business was not "plain". He became a farmer, ran into debt and was close to starving his family. When he went back to his painting trade the elders were very unhappy and a schism occurred. Hick's Peaceable Kingdom paintings spoke to his own feelings of peace. My own peaceful notion is to donate $200. From every framed print to Heifer International. I will donate a proportional amount of the matted prints. Heifer International works to empower people by promoting self- sufficiency and community. Hicks would approve.
Pat Custer Denison
Peaceable Kingdom Play Set by Elizabeth Paxson
Having Quaker ancestry, Edward Hick's "Peaceable Kingdom" has always been a favorite of mine.  Combining the realism of 19th century art with a charming naive style, Hicks made some 60 versions of his Peaceable Kingdom. His folksy depiction of the animals especially lend an innocent vigor.
I have carried this innocence forward with my "Peaceable Kingdom Play Sets," painting various animals and figures onto a vintage set of children's maple blocks. I wanted to capture the playfulness of the paintings, by making the work interactive and fun. The blocks have been hand sanded, painted with acrylics and sealed with four coats of Liquitex clear acrylic varnish. A little twist of irony is the use of the vintage boxes, which appeared to have been for storing guns, a nod to "beating swords into plowshares."
Elizabeth Paxson
Elizabeth Paxson
"Rising Waters, Back to the Future" by Sarah Tierney
My channeling of Edward Hicks Peaceable Kingdom: My work was created by hand needle felting and wet felting wool, Alpaca and some mohair fibers. The animals, children, William Penn and Native American tree are 3-D and sculpted using one barbed needle to interlock the natural fibers. The base is a layering of approximately eight or more layers of fiber, needle felted then wet felted. I used some wire armature for the standing animals and tree then felted the wool with the barbed needle as I created the sculpture. My inspiration for this piece was based on William Penn's' treaty with the Native Americans, the Native Americans being one with nature. Sadly, the broken treaties by future settlers and subsequent decline of our environment, therefore falling short of being good stewards of God's creation. The rising water is from climate change endangering humans and animals. I wanted to depict that animals, both herbivores and carnivores and humans are all on an island facing the same fate. Edward Hicks and his seeming spiritual connection to animals touched me because I care deeply for animals and their welfare so it became a wonderful challenge to not only interpret Edward Hicks' work but create a work of love from my connection with spirituality, animals and nature.
Sarah Tierney
I Am Free by Laurie Meseroll
My mind relaxes, my breathing slows and my heart opens. I surrender to the spiritual feelings evoked as I embrace the wilderness. I am at peace in a state of stillness of body and mind. My Peaceable Kingdom.
Laurie Meseroll