The 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action is a year-long Public Art and Community Engagement initiative that that uses the transformative power of the arts to bring people together around the common goal of fostering an inclusive and peaceful community. Through public art interventions, hands-on collaborative art making, and community conversations residents will be encouraged to dialogue around kindness and nonviolence.  

The 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action will Kickoff on January 26, at the Fleetwood Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster Street, Evanston, from 35 pm. Along with a welcome from Mayor Steve Hagerty, various interactive performances by artists and MC Tim Rhoze, this event will debut the yearlong Kindness in Action City-Wide Art Project. Artists Melissa Raman Molitor and Angela Lyonsmith will facilitate workshops that promote kindness and nonviolence skills in 17+ spaces in all 9 Evanston wards and provide access and inclusion to all community members. The installations will keep growing at each site as participants keep adding to them and will eventually come together to form a major large-scale installation for the Multiplying Kindness year-end celebration. 

When the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action was first started it was obvious that there was a hunger among many Evanston residents to participate in projects that would stimulate discussion about kindness and nonviolence and generate peaceful creative action. “Our goal is to use public art as a catalyst to foster dialogue said artist Indira Johnson who initiated the project. “Most importantly, we want to implement a strategy for participation that increases access and equity and allows engagement of all Evanston residents.”

The 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action is managed by an Advisory Council that reflects the strength and diversity of Evanston and includes art and social service organizations artists and residents. Through a yearlong series of arts-based programming and events the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action focuses on ways to increase awareness of the roots of violence and draw on the existing strengths in our community to empower its members to take positive action.

Submitted by Indira Freitas Johnson

2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Advisory Council: Colette Allen, Director, Evanston, Family Focus; Lachisa Barton, Youth/Young Adult Outreach Worker, Parks, Recreation & Community Services; Mariana Bojorquez, Latino Engagement Librarian, Evanston Public Library; Lisa Degliantoni, Director, Evanston Made; Indira Freitas Johnson, Public Artist, Peace Activist; Nina Kavin, Director, Dear Evanston; Sara Laing, Director, Open Studio Project; Laura Lindroth, Director of Programming and Community Engagement Rainbows for All Children; Angela Lyonsmith, Program Director for CEW (Creatively Empowered Women) Community Artist; Sheila Merry, Executive Director, Evanston Cradle to Career; James B. Moran Center; Melissa Raman Molitor, Associate Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Artist Activist; Tim Rhoze, Artistic Director, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre; Joi Russell, VP Philanthropy and Communications, Evanston Community Foundation.