South Chicago, a uniquely diverse community, planned to integrate the Ten Thousand Ripples Project into a larger movement to use the arts as a way to reduce violence and develop a culturally active neighborhood. Like much of the rest of the city, increasingly splintered gang rivalries have rendered the neighborhood a territorial landmine. Host organization Claretian Associates’ goal was to create an artistic incubator within South Chicago that would harness the power of local artists, businesses, and residents to convert blighted and violence-ridden corners into public art exhibitions and turn block parties into arts-based celebrations.
Installation sites included People’s Park where the annual interfaith service takes place. Master Gardener Gregory Bratton installed one of the Buddhas in the back of his truck so he could carry it with to numerous community activities. Crossing throughout the neighborhood, the traveling Buddha carried a distinct message of peace, without regard to gang territories or dangerous streets. In fact, rather than avoid “hot spots,” residents of South Chicago hoped to highlight them.
Many of Chicago's neighborhoods would really benefit from this project. Just take it from Jackie Samuels, the New Communities Program Director at Claretian Associates. In this 2 minute clip, Jackie tells us what Ten Thousand Ripples means for peace in the South Chicago community.