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UT Tyler Seeking Participants for 3rd Year of ‘Born to Read’ Program


Program promotes early language and literacy in young children

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that it is seeking participants for the third year of the “Born to Read” literacy program, which promotes early childhood literacy in East Texas.

“The purpose of this program is to encourage children’s early language and literacy skills, while also helping parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most valuable teacher,” said Dr. Kouider Mokhtari, UT Tyler Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor of Literacy Education.

“We provide parents with training and an initial tool kit of books and resources that   help and encourage them to raise children as readers,” said Dr. M. Sathyamoorthy, UT Tyler professor of mechanical engineering, who has coordinated support for the program from the Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club.

The Born to Read program is designed for expectant mothers, parents and legal guardians of children up to 3 years old. The program is free to the first 25 participants who register by Monday, Sept. 30. Participants will be involved in the program through June 30, 2020.

To register or for more information, contact Azalia Perez, or 903.566.7016.

Other program sponsors include Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and UT Tyler K-16 Literacy Center.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.


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Downtown Tyler

Art of Peace September 14th-22nd

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Art of Peace is a week-long, Tyler, Texas, a celebration of the annual United Nations International Day of Peace marked around the world on September 21st.

The 2019 Art of Peace theme is Living Peace, and the 2018 Peace Honoree is the People of Tyler, so many of whom are practicing peace in their daily lives.

This year’s Art of Peace events include a Peace Art booth at the Boys & Girls Club Day for Kids, a juried Peace Art Exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art, a Peace Meditation session, a Community Forum on Race, a Honk for Peace vigil, a Peace Poetry Reading and Open Mic, a Peace Pole Dedication, and a Community Peace Meal with a tribute concert to peace pioneer Pete Seeger and our annual Art of Peace group photo.

The annual Art of Peace international poetry anthology will be published on the Art of Peace website, along with the self-guided map of Tyler Peace Art installations.

All Art of Peace events are open to the public and, except for the Peace Meal which requires paid reservations, events are free of charge.

Complete information on all Art of Peace events is available at



Visit the Art of Peace booth at the annual Boys & Girls Club of East Texas Day for Kids held at Bergfeld Park. Enjoy peace art projects and join in encouraging kids to be peacemakers.


The annual Art of Peace visual art exhibit is presented in cooperation with the Tyler Museum of Art, where selected visual art interpretations of our 2019 theme of Living Peace will be on display in the museum education gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public during museum hours!


Join in a session of quiet contemplation for both experienced meditators and those new to meditation at the Tyler Public Library in the maker space on 3rd floor. Following an inspirational Art of Peace presentation, there will be a session of Heartfulness Meditation led by UT Tyler instructor and meditation trainer Gayathri Kambhampati. This event is co-sponsored by the Tyler Public Library.


Each Friday on the Downtown Square in Tyler, a group of Tyler veterans dedicated to peace silently hold signs encouraging passersby to affirm peace.  On this day, Art of Peace will join them for an hour-long vigil, holding signs that ask downtown Tyler drivers to show their support as they Honk for Peace. All are welcome!


Join us at the Discovery Science Place Annex for the launch of the 2019 Art of Peace Poetry Anthology, Living Peace, followed by a Peace Open Mic with Spoken Word Artist, Actor and Poetry Promoter Michael Guinn hosting. Peace poets, spoken word artists, musicians and storytellers can sign up by email to There will be a 3-minute limit. This event is co-sponsored by InSpiritry.


Commemorate the U.N. International Day of Peace with peacemakers around the world by joining us to dedicate the 2019 Peace Pole being installed at Golden Road Park. The Peace Pole is co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler.


Celebrate Peace Day with our 2019 Art of Peace honorees – the people of Tyler who work for peace. Join us at the UTTyler Ornelas Center for a community meal, conversations about admired peacemakers, uplifting music by local singer-songwriters in tribute to peace legend Pete Seeger, and our annual Art of Peace group photo! The catered dinner will cost $15 per adult and $5 for college students and youngsters.  Space is limited. Paid tickets and online registration at are required. Come and bring a friend!


Visit our Art of Peace website ( to read international peace poems selected from entries from across Texas and the United States, as well as from countries around the world. To hear some of the poems read by local poets, join us for the Anthology Launch and Open Mic on Friday, Sept. 20.


Enjoy a self-guided tour of Tyler’s many Art of Peace public art installations— Peace Poles and Murals—using our online Tyler Peace Map at


The story of Art of Peace is a story of friendship. It is an inspiring narrative of creative, compassionate people coming together to celebrate the positive aspects of their community.

The narrative began several years ago when poet, speaker and peace advocate Anne McCrady, inspired by a UK filmmaker’s campaign of Peace One Day to unite the world for a day of peace and nonviolence, contacted friends Mary Andrews and Rabbi Neal Katz about starting a local celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace. Andrews was a peace proponent and had hosted the long-running live music venue, Wildwood Concerts, at her church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler. Rabbi Neal Katz was, in addition to the spiritual leader of his congregation at Temple Beth-El, a successful singer-songwriter and an award-winning Tyler community leader and peace advocate.

McCrady had previously helped develop a Peace Day event in Belton, Texas, along with University of Mary Hardin Baylor art professor Helen Kwiatkowski and singer-songwriter Emily Kaitz. Their first peace-inspired event in September of 2009. The event included folk music, poetry readings and an art auction at a retreat cen- ter in Belton, Texas, with proceeds going to the local crisis center. They named the event The Art of Peace Fes- tival, and for several years it featured singer-songwriters and artists celebrating the U.N. International Day of Peace.

Back in Tyler, McCrady and her friends began to plan an East Texas version of the Art of Peace Festival, with the idea of showcasing local artistic expression. They also hoped to begin to build a community of East Texans committed to the personal practice of peace and peace as a shared endeavor. With a mission of “Creativity-Compassion- Community,” the friends decided that each year the Art of Peace Tyler would benefit a Tyler social service agency, chosen as the Peace Honoree.

The first Art of Peace Tyler was held on a Sunday afternoon in September 2011. It included a silent art auction, poetry readings, peace information, children’s art and a concert and program by David Lamotte, an internation- ally known peace activist and singer-songwriter. That year, the site was the UT Tyler Ornelas Center and vol- unteers included students from the college. The funds generated by the art auction and concert benefitted PATH.

The next year, wanting to reach more East Texans with their message of peace, the trio decided to expand the 2012 Art of Peace Tyler to include events over several days. Inviting the help and enthusiasm of several people who attended the first Art of Peace, the group planned a week of activities to celebrate September 21, the date of the U.N. Day of Peace. Events included art projects at the Boys & Girls Club Day for Kids, a Peace Meal to celebrate diversity with Anissa Centers as guest speaker, Peace Prayer on the Square, a storytelling concert at FRESH, a documentary film, a worship service and a concert at Temple Beth-El with Tom Prasada-Rao and the Tyler Civic Chorale. Concert donations of cash and books benefitted the 2012 Peace Honoree, the Literacy Council of Tyler.

In 2013, Art of Peace Tyler continued to widen its circle of Tyler area peacemakers, spiritual leaders, volun- teers, artists, art forms, venues, non-profit groups and supporters. Activities included the painting of a peace mural at Day for Kids, a worship service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a Peace Meal at the East Texas Islamic Society mosque with guest speaker farm-to-table advocate Carmen Sosa, a showcase of inspiring stories by directors of service organizations, a poetry and music open mic at Cork, an art show in the down- town Regions Bank lobby, a documentary film at the Tyler Public Library and as a final celebration, a concert at Liberty Hall by noted Austin singer-songwriter and Texas Official State Musician, Sarah Hickman. The 2013 Art of Peace Honoree was the East Texas Crisis Center.

The 2014 Art of Peace Tyler expanded even further to new venues that include city parks, museums, business- es and other public spaces. The committee continued to gather people from a diverse cross-section of Tyler at each event. The 2014 Peace Honoree was the East Texas Food Bank. Exciting events included a college- campus conversation on personal peace, local artist Kerian Massey’s outdoor mural, Peace through Discovery, painted at the Discovery Science Center, the installation of a Peace Pole at the Tyler Rose Garden, a Peace Meal in the Food Bank warehouse and a tribute concert to singer-songwriter Harry Chapin who dedicated his life to fighting hunger. The final celebration was a living candle-lit peace sign on the square in downtown Ty- ler.

In 2015, the 5th anniversary of Art of Peace – Tyler, the celebration was again a city-wide celebration. The 2015 Peace Honoree was St. Paul Children’s Foundation. A peace pole was installed on the foundation’s play- ground with a peace garden to honor Dr. Duane Andrews. The peace meal was held at Marvin United Method- ist Church, and the program honored the St. Paul foundation. The living peace sign was held in the church’s gymnasium. The peace concert that year featured Texas singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. Other events includ- ed Day for Kids and a documentary at the public library. The peace poetry anthology, as well as the juried vis- ual art exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art took the title Intertwined – Peace as a Shared Endeavor.

The 2016 Art of Peace Tyler theme was one inspired by the annual peace honoree, the Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler: Paths to Peace – Journey to Wholeness. Sharing that theme, the international Peace Poetry collection and the Tyler Museum of Art exhibit included peacemakers from across Texas. The 2016 Peace Meal was held at University of Texas at Tyler, and the annual Peace Pole was installed at Woldert Park in North Tyler. The Peace Concert featured Peter Yarrow of the renowned folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary. Oth- er events included a praise service, yoga, meditation, children’s activities and a peace conversation among community members and students. The annual Living Peace Sign photo was taken on the Square in downtown Tyler. A Peace Award was also bestowed on an international entry in the Downtown Tyler Film Festival.

In 2017, Art of Peace Tyler’s theme was Building Bridges—Making Peace. The Community Peace Honoree is Habitat for Humanity of Smith County. The Peace Concert will be a night of Peace Music at Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ. The Peace Poetry Anthology Reading was held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and the Peace Art Exhibit, at the Tyler Museum of Art. Also included in the week’s activities were a downtown Peace rally, a meditation session and a Day for Kids art booth. On Peace Day, the 2017 Peace Pole was dedicated in beautifully renovated Bergfeld Park. That evening, the Peace Meal was catered by TISD students at the Career & Technology Center, with the Living Peace Sign photographed afterwards. Other 2017 events sponsored by Art of Peace were an East Texas Symphony Orchestra showing of the documentary, “The Music of Strangers,” featuring Yo-Yo Ma, and a Peace Award to an inspirational short film at the Downtown Tyler Film Festival.

The 2018 Art of Peace celebration included many of the same peace events and venues. One added feature was a vibrant community conversation on race called Tyler Talking Together. Also of interest was a large sculpture of a hand in a peace sign by artist Sylvia Morse that was signed by participants at each event. The 2018 theme was Sowing Seeds of Peace, with the poetry anthology and the visual art show both taking that title. The 2018 poetry anthology drew poems from around the world, and the Tyler Museum of Art exhibit was outstanding. The 2018 Community Peace Honoree was City of Tyler’s Keep Tyler Beautiful program, and the annual Peace Pole was installed along the trail in Rose Rudman Park. The final night of 2019 Art of Peace was a standing room only concert by Trout Fishing in America with an amazing group photo to end the celebration.

The three original Art of Peace – Tyler co-founders—Anne McCrady, Neal Katz and Mary Andrews— are still central to the annual celebration, though, now in its 9th   year, Art of Peace events are coordinated by an inspired committee of passionate peace-minded people. Art of Peace Tyler organizers hope that annual participants and guests will be reminded of the importance of Creativity, Compassion and Community as the first steps to local and international conflict resolution, as well as the path to personal Peace.

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