Gallery Expo to host images from The Peace Project, which provided crutches to Sierra Leone victims of amputation

<b>“Operation Rise” provided 10,000 pairs of crutches and replacement parts to Sierra Leonean amputees on World Peace Day, as part of The Peace Project. They were distributed at eight sites across the impoverished country.</b>
The Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., will once again host images from The Peace Project during the January First Fridays art walk, as a one-day exhibit from 6pm and 9pm. In November of 2011, Gallery Expo and The Whole 9 Gallery, based in Culver City, brought the exhibit to the Expo Arts Center, and many people requested that the project be brought back to Long Beach for another look, according to Gallery Expo curator Douglas Orr.
The Peace Project (, which was started by The Whole 9 Gallery owner Lisa Schwartz, led a coalition of partners (including UNICEF) to provide 10,000 pairs of crutches and mobility devices to amputees in the country of Sierra Leone, which is home to about 20 percent of the world’s amputees. About three years ago, the Revolutionary United Front began terrorizing the people of Sierra Leone by amputating their hands, arms and legs. The amputations were to serve as the rebel trademark and a warning of what they were capable of, according to a Dec. 3, 2011 ABC News story. Most of the amputees are innocent civilians who had nothing to do with politics or war.
The project will be featured in the lobby of the Expo Arts Center during a free blues concert (see side story).
“We have [been] so inspired by the work that [The] Whole 9 Gallery is doing that we wanted to bring some of that good will to Long Beach,” Orr said. “The Peace Project is a great example of how artists and their art can have a meaningful and profound impact on the lives of people in need around the world.”
Parking is located on the north side of the building and is free.
<b>Mural “Phoenix Rising,” by Steven Lopez, located at the Peace Project’s office in Culver City</b>

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