Barry McNamara  |   Published January 19, 2017

What does peace mean?

John Noltner’s photography exhibit provides 58 answers

The meaning of peace is explored in a photography exhibit Monmouth College is helping bring to the community.

Thanks to a partnership with the Buchanan Center for the Arts, photographer John Noltner and his latest show, “A Peace of My Mind: American Stories,” is currently on display in Monmouth.

The exhibit, which features 58 portraits and corresponding 400-word excerpts about the subjects, will be on display in the Buchanan Center, 64 Public Square, through Feb. 9.

Noltner will speak about the exhibit Feb. 8-9 at Monmouth and also visit two classes at the College.

Since 2009, Noltner has asked people the not-so-simple question, “What does peace mean to you?” The question is part of “A Peace of My Mind,” a multimedia art project. The project explores the meaning of peace by combining photographs of diverse subjects and their personal stories. It includes voices of Holocaust survivors, the homeless, political refugees and other individuals.

On Feb. 8, Noltner will address the monthly meeting of Old Friends Talk Art, held at 10 a.m. at the Buchanan Center. Later that day, he will present his gallery talk there at 7 p.m.

Also on Feb. 8, Noltner will speak to College faculty member Dan Ott’s class on Martin Luther King Jr. He’ll work with a digital photography class on Feb. 9, talking about his techniques and his sense of vocation as a photographer and artist.

“The last time John was here (in 2015), both the College and local communities were really taken with the photos and stories that he had made and collected,” Ott said.

One story in particular will be of interest to Ott’s class, as Noltner met with Joanne Bland, who was 11 years old when she marched with King in 1965.

Noltner traveled a total of 40,000 miles through 46 states on nine trips over a three-year span for his latest project, which follows a previous “A Peace of My Mind,” a series done closer to his Minneapolis home. He said about 70 percent of the interviews were arranged in advance, “and the rest is serendipity.” That was the case with Bland, whom he met in Selma, Ala., after his original interview subject in Alabama had to cancel.

After conducting scores of interviews through the two projects, Noltner has gained a deeper sense of what peace really means.

“The notion of peace is and should be wrapped around relationships with others,” he said. “Peace is an intentional act – a choice people make. There needs to be a willingness to be patient and comfortable with things you disagree with, whether they’re political, spiritual or any number of things.”

Noltner said that means eliminating “knee-jerk reactions and hearing the full story while recognizing the humanity of the other person.”

Noltner’s photographs have been published in several national magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, AARP, Health, Smithsonian and Business Week.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthscots.com/" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, two of the oldest sororities, were founded at Monmouth in the 1860’s. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition at Monmouth College. No need to try to plan for an additional expense, and our students start each semester fully prepared for classes. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/tuition-fees/" target="_blank">Tuition & Fees</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/offices/global-engagement/" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/academics/only-at-monmouth/educational-garden-farm/" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>