The Peace Games started in 1957 in Flint, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, as a youth-focused amateur athletic event to promote fellowship and cultural understanding. In 2003, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board held its first PEACE (Public Engagement and Community Empowerment) Games in partnership with the Walker and 12 other area agencies. In 2005, the event shifted focus to underscore the vitality and diversity of North Minneapolis and provide youths throughout the city with opportunities to celebrate peaceful coexistence through sports and the arts.
The PEACE Games Celebration 2006—the culminating event of this year’s games—highlights the continuing partnership between the Walker, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, and the PEACE Foundation. The celebration renews the Walker’s commitment to helping kids move past stereotyping and violence and seeks to catalyze respectful, open dialogue about differences across experience, race, and geography. This multifaceted event invites hundreds of children and young people, primarily from North Minneapolis, to marvel in the galleries at Claes Oldenburg’s nine-foot canvas sculpture of an upside-down bag of french fries; catch a screening of the uplifting film The Peace Tree; learn to play a sport from a different cultural tradition; and enjoy a showcase of entertainment in the Garden representing the diversity of the Twin Cities. For more information, call the PEACE Foundation at 612.521.4405 or visit citypeace.org.