Art Production Fund (APF) is honored to announce that Co-Founders Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal have been awarded the 2014 Lennon Ono Grant for Peace for their public art program since 2000.
A biennial award inaugurated by Yoko Ono in 2002 to honor the peace activism of John Lennon, the grant’s past recipients have included Doctors Without Borders, Pussy Riot, and The Centre for Constitutional Rights. APF will donate the entirety of the $52,000 grant to two urgent nonprofit organizations: Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step Training Program for Women and Spirituality for Kids.
“We have long admired Yoko Ono as an artist and activist who has dedicated her life to promoting peace,” said Remen and Force Villareal. “Receiving this award is truly humbling and instills in both of us an even deeper desire to advocate for peace on a local and global scale.”
“Our children are our future, and with raised consciousness and self-awareness, they will lead us to a world of peace and harmony,” said Doreen Remen. “Upon receiving news of the grant, I immediately wanted to share this privilege with Spirituality for Kids, a ground-breaking non-profit that provides children with the opportunity and tools to develop respect and care for themselves, others, and the world around them. It is through their individual thoughts and actions that global unity and peace will be achieved.”
“As a mother, feminist, and career women, I am ecstatic to support the Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step Training Program for Women,” said Yvonne Force Villareal. “The program empowers these courageous women who deeply desire to create positive change in their lives, but lack resources and job training. Peace starts in a stable and safe home.”
The Lennon Ono Grant For Peace was created as a way to promote peace, truth, and humanity in the world, and to help people who promote these values. This year’s awards were presented on October 9 (John Lennon’s birthday) in Reykjavik, Iceland, where Yoko Ono led ceremonies to commemorate her late husband. Ono illuminated the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, a vast tower of light located on the island of Videy, which will remain lit until the day of Lennon’s death on December 8. Additional 2014 recipients include Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner, Peace One Day’s Jeremy Gilley and Jon Gnarr, the former Mayor of Reykjavik.
“I am very happy to honour [Art Production Fund] this year with the award that, for me, symbolises much of the work that John Lennon and I tried to do together and which I now continue to do.”
The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. The First Step Job Training Program gives approximately 125 homeless and low-income women per year the computer training, literacy, life skills, mentoring, networking opportunities – and the self-confidence – needed to secure living-wage employment. First Step was designed to empower students to reach their full potential – emotionally and professionally – enabling them to thrive both in the workplace and in their personal lives.
Founded in 2007, Spirituality for Kids is an 501c3 educational nonprofit organization that aims to deepen children’s sense of purpose in life, encourage them to reflect on their actions, see challenges as opportunities, and awaken their desire to make a difference in the world around them. Through engaging videos, animations, games, art activities, journaling and more, kids learn the “rules to the game of life”, which help them tap into their inner strengths, realizing that the power to overcome any challenge lies within them.