Carolina Echeveria

The Canvas Peace Project is currently running on-line auctions of  featured paintings donated by artists who partner with us.  Our current donation is a sculpture donated by Carolina Echeveria ( who is recognized internationally for her sculptures symbolizing the lives of indigenous women.


This Canvas Peace Project donated sculpture comes from a series called Little Dresses For The Heart. It has a retail value of $2,000. The sculpture piece is 6 x 8″ on a surrounding frame that is 10 x 15.

In 2016 after 5 events were completed, the collective of Native-Immigrant came to be; a diverse group of individuals that believes that culture should be something alive and organic. The main activity of Native-Immigrant is the construction of dresses. Each dress collects objects that tell the story of who we really are.

Carolina has been working on an artistic statement of collective cultural values since 2010. As an artist, she seeks to bridge immigrants and First Nations, to talk about the space between Native and Immigrant by inserting a hyphen—a symbol of what holds us all together, to preserve the space in which dialogue, creativity, and true healing can occur. See:


Carolina Echeverria –  A Statement from the artist:

“I am an immigrant to Quebec, a place that has yet to embrace the profound gifts of either First Nations or immigrants (“les ethniques” as we’ve been called). From the start, I wanted to take part in the collective conversation. I wanted to talk about climate change and environmental concerns—things that the government does not show signs of wanting to discuss. Then I heard about Neskantaga: in the heart of the world’s largest intact boreal wetland, this tiny First Nation community was fighting to protect their lands, their water and their way of life against mining projects such as the Ring of Fire. People were suiciding at such a high rate, a state of emergency had been declared. What could I do in the face of such heartbreaking news? This land is so vast, and we are so disconnected…. What I did was I mailed a hundred postcards saying that someone in Montreal cared, I cared, and I asked them to please not give up their struggle, please keep on protecting the water and their sacred land where their ancestors were buried. Months later I got postcards from school children saying “thank you.” I knew then that connecting was as simple as reaching out and speaking up, with heart.

Promoting hope is at the core of my artistic production; as an artist and social activist I have witnessed the power of artistic inspiration to create change.  Little Dresses for The Heart is a body of work created to empower women all over the world to become mindful about their heart’s deepest desires, where resilience, courage and self love reside against all odds.  My wish is that all women and young girls of South Sudan recognize their own inner strength, and that by collaborating with The Canvas Peace Project become active partners in the construction of a more just and kind society.”

Funds raised through this art raffle will be used to support our girls initiatives in Ariang, South Sudan. A young girl is far less likely to get an education in South Sudan. HOPE for Ariang is working to reduce the cultural and economical barriers for girls to attend Ariang School. By providing them with school uniforms, classroom materials, and more private female pit latrines our female students are more likely to attend and stay in school. Today over 250 girls are being educated at Ariang School!

Raffle ticket price: 1 for $10 or buy 6 tickets for $51

One winner will be drawn at random on December 15th, 2016

Please consider purchasing a ticket for $10 for the chance to win this amazing, wire woven sculpture and help support the women and girls of Ariang Village. For details and to purchase tickets on-line please go to…/canvas-peace-…/cpp-raffle-ticket/

Kathy Mitchell-Lover of Colors, Art, and Nature


“I love the painting.  I love the colors.  I hope it helps the people.”  Kathy Mitchell, a Vermont artist, tells me of the painting that she recently donated to the Canvas Peace Project.  The painting pictured above will be shown at the upcoming exhibit this October 11-18  in Burlington, Vermont at the Skinny Pancake.  She said that she used one of the photos (shown below) from Mia Farrow’s album on our website as inspiration for her painting.

“I focused in on the right, obviously, but I just love the colors.”  Her painting is an acrylic made on a 20 x 24 canvas.  She hopes that the proceeds from the sale of her painting will help the people in the  South Sudan.

She has been drawing for most of her life.  ”I’ve always done it,” she tells me.  ”I find it meditative.”  Thirty-five to forty years ago she began painting and continues to this day.  Her day job involves painting the interiors of houses and painting murals on bedroom walls.  ”I just recently painted a mural of three dolphins over a child’s bed.”


Mural with Lion     Mural with deer


Kathy has many other artistic talents as well.  ”I make jewelry out of silver, brass, and copper.”  On her website she says, “All of my pieces are made by my hand, beginning with metal in sheet or wire form, and each is one of a kind. Nature and Native American designs have been a strong influence in my jewelry.”



She sells most of her jewelry on her website along with many of her other paintings.  ”I especially love painting portraits, animals, and nature.”



Kathy told me that she went to South Africa for 3 weeks and that she would love to go back and do things to help the animals.  She has a love for animals especially small ones.  Kathy has 15 chickens, a couple peacocks, and 2 turkeys.  ”They are not for human consumption,” she tells me when I ask if she is fattening them up for Thanksgiving Dinner.  ”They are my friends!”  She is extremely protective of her animals, as well.  As if to underscore this, while on the phone with me she was forced to disconnect in order to save her chickens from a fox.  That’s pretty much sums up Kathy Mitchell; lover of colors, art, and animals.


Blog written by Kaitlyn Cardey, CPP Intern and Blog Writer

Coco Melvin is all about peace and happiness!

Corrine Coco Melvin is the Founder and CEO of SMILES. We are excited to introduce to you a new participating artist in the Canvas Peace Project, who’s work will be exhibited on March 17 in Syracuse, New York. As a peace activist, Coco works to unite people, and accept differences to come together on a unified front.

Coco’s desire to paint came from wanting to simply bring happiness into her home for her and her toddler son, after she had endured a difficult marriage. Her style of painting comes from a place of wanting to bring peace and happiness, mixed in with joy.

“My work is called, “A People United” and really to sum it up, it’s about unity, diversity, peace, and happiness,” this is how Coco describes her artwork. Within “A People United,” Coco has created characters that convey this heartfelt message.

Coco is involved in multiple types of peace work. “My peace work works with the types of pieces I do,” Melvin says (referring to her artwork). Melvin also leads workshops for children about finding the peace within, love within themselves, creativity, and to share and bring love peace to other people. “I always knew from childhood that I would be involved in peace work. When I was approached about The Canvas Peace Project, I was elated!”

“What I create, demonstrate, produce and sell, is Happiness. A positive sentiment, and personalized synergy for self-development, well-being, and lifestyle enrichment. I use my various artistic and creative tools (coaching, art, designs, books, 3R’s motivational tapes, seminars, etc.) to uplift, inspire and stimulate the creative senses which benefits one to create phenomenal results in their daily life and calling,” states Melvin as she describes herself and how she’s gotten to her current time in her life. Coco has four of her books on her website that you can purchase, The Happiness Pledge Book- Steps to Create the Life Intended for You!, A Children’s Book: A people United- The Joy and Happiness Book, New Beginnings, and LOVE- Leave Out Various Emotions.

Coco Melvin is a self-taught artist that currently resides in Norwalk, Connecticut. The painting that Coco is donating to The Canvas Peace Project is called, “Unity”and is 30×36 acrylics on stretched canvas.

“When I worked on this painting, the message I wanted to convey was about Unity, Solidarity, Celebration, Happiness. So, the sun is shooting happiness bullets over Sudan rather than bullets of destruction and sadness. We celebrate and join forces to stomp out the blood shed in Africa so that war and genocide for the Sudanese people will be no more,” says Coco.

Blog written by Emily Schmerzler, CPP Intern and Blog Writer


CPP exhibits at Care International

October 11, 2012, marked the first International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations. Calling an end to child marriage, and giving girls an education is one of the best strategies for protecting  girls against harm. By giving girls an education and keeping them in school they do not marry early, and receive a foundation to create a better life for themselves and their families. According to the UN, about 70 million young women are married before the age of 18. Child marriage denies a young woman her childhood, interrupts her education, limits her future, increases her risk of being a victim of violence and abuse, and jeopardizes her health.

CARE International was made aware of the Canvas Peace Project during research for commemorating this day, because of it’s work with helping women and girls.

Long time CARE volunteer, Janis Sundquist helped coordinate the efforts to bring The Canvas Peace Project exhibit  Ziba’s Cafè in Atlanta, Georgia.

Janie Gulick, artist of IDAL, the International  Decorative Artisans League also helped instal the exhibit including her contribution of 3 paintings.

The display began at Ziba’s on October 11 was then moved to the CARE’s lobby where special speaker, Emmanuel Jal was beginning his week of engagements in Atlanta.

Emmanuel Jal, born in South Sudan is a current musician and former child soldier. Jal’s father joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and when he was about seven years old, his mother was killed by soldiers that were loyal to the government. Jal then decided to participate with the thousands of children that traveled to Ethiopia in the hope of receiving education but was then recruited by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and taken to military training camps at the age of 9. Jal broadcasts his message of peace and equality through his music, and his campaign, We Want Peace. In 2009, Jal published his book, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story. The book describes Jal’s life from childhood soldier to Hip-Hop artist, and peace activist.


Gabriel Bol Deng, founder for Hope for Ariang, joined Cynthia Davis for the events in Atlanta, which included a panel of speakers at Morehouse College featuring former Ambassador Andrew Young and Emmanuel Jal and culminated with a special evening honoring Jal at Emory’s Institue for Developing Nations.


Also in attendance at the events was Carl Wilken’s Fellow Melanie Nelkin, CHF Tunde Adetunji, African Cultural Ambassador, Lorrie King, co-founder 50 CENTS.PERIOD, Dr. Melvina Turner King, Director of Leadership Studies at Moorehouse College, and Kira Walker, Atlanta Chapter co-leader for Dining for women to name a few.

The Canvas Peace Project’s exhibit will remain in Atlanta through November, where it will be displayed in galleries at the shops of Miami Circle.


The next  major Canvas Peace Project Exhibit will be March 17, 2013 at The Dolphin Den at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.



Remembering an Artist Dear to Our Hearts

When I heard that Arlene Skutch had passed away I couldn’t believe how hard the news hit me.  Afterall, I had only known this 88 year old woman for the past year and had seen her only on a few occassions. Yet, if you met Arlene you would know why she would stay in your heart and mind forever. I met her when I approached the artsist/students who painted as her students in her pink house in Westport, Connecticut.  She offered me time to approach the artists about participating in the Sudan Canvas Project. Arlene immediately wrapped her arms around the project within the first five minutes of my explaination that I wanted her group to raise awareness for the atrocities women have endured in Sudan and to help women in South Sudan to learn a trade.

Arlene pictured with Pink House Painters and Gabriel Bol Deng, Founder of Hope For Ariang, the recipient of funds raised from The Sudan Canvas Project

She inspired many to paint for the project and did two of her own paintings for the first Sudan Canvas Project event  in Fairfield, Connecticut  last November.

Arlene was born and raised in Fostoria, Ohio and began her artsistic career as a classically trained professional singer. In 1945 she moved to New York City and began her stage career in broadway musicals such as Finann’s Rainbow, Bloomer Girl and Of Thee I Sing.  She married had two children, Laura and Andrew, and moved to Westport, Connecticut where she bought and renovated a charming saltbox colonial house built in 1876. Having spent her honey moon in Cuba, she loved the bright colors of the homes and decided to paint  their new house pink.

Along with the house came an artist’s studio in the backyard designed by Eliot Noyes, the celebrated modern architect. After her children were in school, Arlene started to study painting locally with several well respected teachers mainly at the Silvermine Art School in New Canaan, Connecticut.

In 1972, Arlene opened her own studio to students and began a four decade journey as an art teacher. She soon developed a devoted following of students who call themselves “The Pink House Painters”.  The incredible group pf artists who helped kick off the first Sudan Canvas Project  event and brought awareness to the past and current human rights atriocities in Sudan and helped to finance a market project in the village of Ariang, South Sudan.

I will never forget seeing Arlene on the night of the event at The Fairfield Theatre Company sitting in the front row of the theatre so proud and distinguished. She intensely watched as Gabriel Bol Deng and I spoke of the history of genocide, the women of Ariang village and the importance of artists using their talent as a tool and voice. I could tell she was proud to be there and to have many of her art students represented at the exhibit.

Her painting Exodus vividly told the story of the escape of civillians as their village was being attacked during war. Through vibrant color she told the story of fear, panic and chaos. Her paintings told the darker side of the lives of the women and were a huge contribution to the exhibit.

In “One Last Look”  Arlene portrays  the darkeness, lonliness and loss as villagers try to hold on to what is left of their home life and people.

I will be forever grateful for support and for the important pieces she did of her in contribution to the project, but mostly I will remember the tall, proud and elegant woman with the great big heart.

"Arlene taught through positive reinforcement, building on a student’s small successes, helping when asked how to deal with a particular problem. She nurtured the creative spark in her students in a non-interfering way, with just a gentle suggestion here and there and much encouragement. What a blessing that was! My own spark could have been easily doused by the wrong teacher since it was not backed up with much confidence…….Arlene says she has enough ideas for two more life times! I feel the same way and cannot thank her enough for being the right teacher at the right time, for helping me find my creativity so that I can look forward to doing art and “making stuff” for the rest of this lifetime."

                                                                                                                                                                             Artists Patricia MacQueen

“Arlene with her childlike excitement for life, her positive attitude and most of all her gentle mentoring, has left a place in my heart forever.”

                                                                                                                                                               Artist Barbara Cronin

Arlene will be greatly missed by all who had the great privilege of knowing her.