A Peace of My Mind: Exploring Belonging One Story at a Time

En Español

We all belong in the circle of human concern. Join us for community exploration of community and belonging as Corvallis hosts award-winning photographer John Noltner from October 15 to 22, 2023. As a storyteller Noltner has worked on four continents gathering stories of human courage, grace, and resilience. Now he is coming to Corvallis to ask: “What does belonging mean to you?” Designed to bring the OSU and local Corvallis communities together, this community building experience will feature photography exhibits, photography sessions, and a keynote talk and dialogue — all centered around belonging.

This programming series is being offered as part of the A Peace of My Mind project. A Peace of My Mind is a multimedia arts project created by Noltner that uses portraits and personal stories to bridge divides and encourage dialogue around important social issues.  This series of programs seeks to amplify voices and stories often untold or unheard in order to give us the opportunity to engage in learning and reflection on how others in our community think about belonging and experience Corvallis. The programs will support reflection and planning for how we can create a more inclusive future that supports belonging for everyone.

In a deeply divided world, Noltner's visit gives our community, especially our friends and neighbors who are most marginalized, the opportunity to teach each other what we need to truly belong. This week long series of events, conversations, and activities will open our hearts and minds to other perspectives and give us the chance to build connections and make change together. A Peace of My Mind helps us rediscover the common humanity that connects us.

All programs are free and open to the public.

Accommodations requests related to disability should be made to Community Engagement & Leadership at [email protected] or 541-737-3041.

Photography Studio Sessions

Monday, October 16th from 10am to 2pm
Tuesday, October 17th from 3pm to 7pm
Thursday, October 19th from 10am to 2pm

Westminster House (101 NW 23rd St.; 23rd and Monroe)

It's your time to share! All OSU and Corvallis community members are invited to contribute by posing for a photograph and offering your perspective on the question “What does belonging mean to you?” Diverse participation will add to the richness and fullness of the project as well as deeper understanding of the realities that exist in Corvallis. By participating in a photo session, not only will you be able to describe what belonging means to you, but you'll also have your answer paired with a professional headshot taken by John Noltner. These photos will be free for your own personal use. You might also see yourself reflected in the keynote talk later in the week. ASL and Spanish interpreting will be provided. 

Sign up for an appointment or show up as a walk-in! Appointments are recommended for anyone with limited windows of time available. 

Studio Appointment Sign Up

Keynote & Dialogue

Friday, October 20, 2023
4 to 6pm
What did people across Corvallis have to say about belonging? Join us as John Noltner unveils the portraits he took during his Corvallis visit and shares lessons learned from the week. His keynote presentation as well as subsequent dialogue will center how we can build community, bridge divides, and support belonging for all through personal story sharing. Refreshments will be served. ASL and Spanish interpreting will be provided. 
Accommodations requests related to disability should be made to Community Engagement & Leadership at [email protected] or 541-737-3041.

Photography Exhibits

Monday, October 16th to Friday, October 20th, 8am-8pm
Wednesday, October 18th to Saturday, October 21st, 10am-4:30pm
Sunday October 22nd, 12pm-2pm
John Noltner’s exhibit American Stories will be on display in the SEC Lobby and at the Corvallis Museum. Visit the free exhibitions to see examples of Noltner's work and how others have approached answering life's larger questions. 32 color portraits with stories of reconciliation, peace and hope, gathered on a 40,000 mile road trip across the United States will be on display in each location. 

Community Potluck & Conversation

Sunday, October 15, 2023
5 to 7pm

Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center (2638 NW Jackson Ave)

"What does belonging mean to you?" Join us for a community discussion with John Noltner, an award-winning photographer, writer, and peace activist. Community members will be able to contribute their voice to a collection of writings and photographs about belonging, should they want to. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Feel free to bring a dish to share!

Sponsors & Collaborators

Many local community organizations, nonprofits, and OSU units have collaborated to support the planning of this series. They include:

  • Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center
  • Corvallis Museum
  • Linn Benton Lincoln Health Equity Alliance
  • OSU Community Engagement & Leadership
  • OSU Center for Humanities
  • Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center
  • Westminster House
  • The Arts Center
  • OSU Office of Institutional Diversity
  • OSU College of Liberal Arts
  • OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film 
  • OSU School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, Peace Studies
  • OSU Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative 

About John Noltner

John Noltner is an American photographer and peace activist. His work and subject matter is varied, ranging from small town America to projects overseas. His photographs have been published in national magazines including National Geographic Traveler, AARP, Health, Smithsonian, and Business Week. 

Since 2009, Noltner has been asking people the simple (or not so simple) question, “What does peace mean to you?” for his multimedia art project, A Peace of My Mind. The project combines photographs of diverse subjects and their personal stories exploring the meaning of peace. He has included the voices of Holocaust survivors, homeless individuals, political refugees and others. 

The project has been presented at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Sojourners Summit for Change.

A Peace of My Mind represents John’s belief that art and storytelling have the power to transform our hearts as well as our communities and that we each have the power to create positive change in the world.

Photos provided courtesy of John Noltner.