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Increase the peace!

Queens Museum will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an afternoon of readings about civil rights, equality, and harmony on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. As such, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park cultural center has issued an open call to anybody who would like to participate.

The deadline to submit a piece is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016.

The literary event is a companion piece to Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art, which is on display until Feb. 19, 2017. This multi-genre exhibition explores public sanitation, labor, work culture, and the role of women in society through sculptures, color imaging, interviews, performances, and the written word. (Ukeles has been an unsalaried artist in residence with the NYC Sanitation Department since 1978.)

The readings will take place in the museum’s central atrium around a blue, glass, circular “Peace Table” that Ukeles actually created for community talks at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in 1992. Those conversations sought to bring people together after the riots following a jury’s failure to convict four police officers who had been charged with excessive force and assaulting Rodney King with a deadly weapon.

The readings will be organized into the following categories:

  • Cultural definitions of peace;
  • Religious and spiritual teachings on peace;
  • Interpersonal peacemaking; and
  • Diplomacy, statecraft, and  conflict resolution.

Published and unpublished material will be considered as will writings in foreign languages. Poems, essays, and excerpts from books have the best chance of being selected.

Each reader will get five minutes to present so pieces should not exceed 750 words. Printed versions of the selections will be included into the exhibition for its final month.

Photos courtesy of Queens Museum

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