Traveling art exhibit shares a peace of Dubuque’s mind


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but John Noltner gives you just twenty five.

Noltner describes his project, “People will come up and they’ll actually just write their response in twenty five words or less and then we do a black and white portrait.”

Twenty five words to share a piece of your mind. P-E-A-C-E, that is.

John says sometimes people are nervous and sometimes they’re excited, but once it’s over they’re usually glad to have taken part. “You can tell some people are a little reluctant you know sometimes it feels a little bit vulnerable.”

The process is simple: fill out the questionnaire, say hi to John, and get your picture taken.

But the message means so much more.

John describes the project as one that can bring people together in the midst of a world that seems to be trying to do the opposite. “The world can be a pretty frustrating place pretty hopeless place at times and I think that when you surround yourself with other people who believe that we can do better who are working to create positive change that’s contagious. I think this project gets more important everyday.”

And for those who get their picture taken, it’s Johns vision that makes it easy to see why Peace of My Mind is still going strong after ten years.

Participant Jenna Roskopf described the experience saying, “I think so many times people feel trapped to a certain belief or ideal so things like this really bind us all together.”

John’s love for the project has never wavered. He’s found that over time it just gets better. “This project and engaging with these people gives me hope and it feeds my soul.”

So from the giant grins, to the soulful shots, John shares stories about peace one photograph and quote at a time.

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Maggie is a junior at Loras College and is from Mokena, Illinois. She is an anchor, producer, and reporter for LCTV News majoring in media studies with a minor in Public Relations and Politics.

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