"What is a community of peace?"

That's one of several questions that the city of Minneapolis along with the Downtown Improvement District hope people will help answer with photos entered in the Picturing Peace Summer Photo Contest launched this week. The contest is part of a community engagement project aimed at raising awareness about youth violence.

Photo by Reynaldo Stately, one of the kids featured in Picturing Peace

Photo by Reynaldo Stately, one of the kids featured in Picturing Peace

The competition is free to enter and open to people of all ages. According to a city news release, contestants should submit "an original photo on the themes of Picturing Peace, reflected in the questions below:"

  • What is a community of peace?
  • What are the issues confronting you with respect to peace and violence?
  • What are the supports in your community that are effective in encouraging peace?
  • What can we do to promote community peace?

The photo contest is the second phase of the Picturing Peace project, sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District and the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support. In the spring, more than a dozen teens participated in the first phase of the project and documented their reflections and hopes for peace and safety in their communities with photos. Their work will be on display on downtown utility boxes and in Minneapolis libraries through November.

The contest ends Aug. 10. Entries are accepted online at the project website or via mail. Winning pictures in the contest will be featured on the project website and on the library tours, and some may be installed on utility boxes downtown. Winners will receive a certificate from the city of Minneapolis and the Downtown Improvement District, presented at the "Summer 612: Unlearning the Culture of Violence" event on Sept. 22 at the Minneapolis Central Library.

The launch of the photo contest comes in the wake of the slaying of 5-year-old Nizzel George, who was hit when shots pierced his grandmother's north Minneapolis home last week. Two teens have been charged with his murder.