FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2011
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Peterson helping spread `signs of hope’ in Tuscaloosa
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Signs of hope are popping up around the Forest Lake neighborhood in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Jessica Peterson has had her hands in the effort.
Peterson, interim instructor of graphic design at Mississippi University for Women, is among volunteers who are helping paint “We Are Coming Back” signs following the April 27 tornado.
“I’ve been friends with Jean and Carol, the two artists who came up with the idea, for a while. I do a lot of printing and graphic design work for various non-profit and community efforts in Alabama, so through that network of people, I heard Jean and Carol were looking for volunteers to paint.”
About 20 signs have been made so far.
Peterson is excited to be participating in the project, noting that several of her close friends lived in neighborhoods destroyed by the tornado.
“It has been almost two months since the tornado, but it is still shocking to see the amount of destruction in these neighborhoods, which used to be vibrant, tree-filled communities and are now eerily quiet, empty and full of rubble,” she said. “I can’t think of a better opportunity for a community art project. The signs provide a little humanity and color in landscapes that are otherwise still heartbreaking to experience.”
Peterson added needs of the post-tornado community are more complex and harder to define and find solutions for.
“It is definitely a time for creative problem solving, which is what graphic design really is. People have found new homes and started rebuilding their lives, but there is still a lot at stake,” she said. “It really makes me think about how necessary neighborhoods are in creating good community, and good community is an essential that sometimes gets undervalued in this society.”
Peterson has close ties to Tuscaloosa and graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in book arts. Originally from New York, she has a studio and works in a print shop in Gordo, Ala.
Anyone interested in participating in the Beauty Amid Destruction project should contact Peterson at email@example.com.