A freshly finished mural in downtown Tyler promotes science and peace, and serves as the kickoff to a weeklong schedule of events promoting peace and tolerance in East Texas.
The Peace Through Discovery Mural was officially unveiled Saturday afternoon on the south wall of the Discovery Science Place complex on Locust Street.
The 12-by-18-foot mural depicts a snapshot of the world, using a camera aperture as its inspiration, said its designer, Ben Wheeler resident Kerian Massey.
“It’s a big eye on the world like a photo of the world, and then it brings in elements of discovery — binoculars, a magnifying glass, space, the world, ecology, history — it’s many of the different aspects of discovering the world,” said Mrs. Massey, a professional muralist.
Mrs. Massey said the design also incorporates other themes including growth, life cycles and the phases of the moon.
“It’s touching on the different ideas of knowledge, growth and discovery,” she said. “All of that brings us to peace. Once you can understand the world around you, it gives you a sense of peace.”
She said knowledge also is a deterrent of intolerance.
“Once people understand the world around them, they become more open to new ideas, new theories,” Mrs. Massey said.
The design was formally approved by the Discovery Science board of directors and took more than 20 gallons of a rainbow of paint and well over 100 man-hours using about 15 volunteers over five weekends.
The unveiling served as the kickoff for the fourth annual Art of Peace Festival. The weeklong list of events is designed to honor the United Nations International Day of Peace on Sept. 21. This year’s theme is Hunger for Peace, and any proceeds will benefit the East Texas Food Bank.
Events include a free concert, a peace dinner, art exhibits, kids’ events, a peace forum, a worship service and a “living peace sign” using area residents holding candles.
The festival has grown exponentially in its four years, said Rabbi Neal Katz, with Congregation Temple Beth-El and founding member of the peace festival committee. The celebration started in 2011 with a day program and grew longer each year.
“We are still a work in progress, and every year the peace festival gets larger and the committee grows, and it becomes this incredible community of peaceniks trying to put something on the calendar that promotes peace,” Katz said.
Part of that growth is connecting with a list of important agencies in the city including Tyler Junior College, The University of Texas at Tyler, the Tyler Museum of Art as well as the Discovery Science Place and the East Texas Food Bank.
For a full list of events this week, visit www.tylerpeace.com .