Ghost Ranch River of Peace

Ghost Ranch is building a Peace Garden.  The idea emerged as staff and faculty at the Ranch were discussing how to honor recently deceased staff members with something that would have a lasting impact.  Tom Nichols designed the garden.  The location is just outside the Lower Pavilion, down the hill from the Office and next door to the Museum.  The Garden has been started and can be visited now.  The mural described in this post will be installed in the Spring of 2014.

The elements that make up the Interfaith Peace Garden include a peace pole (and history), a fountain (with rain harvesting and solar power), stone sculpture, path with spirals, Reflexology path, a mural, and seating areas for reflection.

Ceramic Mural for the Peace Garden

Barbara Campbell, the Ghost Ranch coordination for the NMPCA and also a volunteer Ghost Ranch staff person in charge of the ceramic studio, Pot Hollow, was invited to create the mural to be made out of ceramic tiles.  Her design is 30 feet long and varies from two to 6 feet tall.  The Ranch asked that religious symbols from traditions all over the world be included in the mural.  Barbara’s concept was to incorporate these symbols through fired laser decal imagery.  As testing proceeding, a wonderful idea emerged.  We decided to make the background of the religious symbols hand-written text, soliciting entries from as many people as we could and getting as much variety:  poems, prayers, writings in different languages and from different cultural traditions.  We decided to call this the “River of Peace” as the writings would be arranged on the 30 foot long mural in a flowing design.

How to participate in the River of Peace

Send your hand-written poems, prayers or other writings written in black ink on 1/2 sheet of 8.5 x 11″ white paper to:  Judy Nelson-Moore, 23 Immanuel, Santa Fe, NM  87508
or scan and email to:  The deadline is December 25, 2013.

Here are a few pictures of the mural work so far:

Tom Nichols describes the elements of the Peace Garden

(Tom is the co-coordinator of the metal arts program at the ranch and was primarily involved in designing the Peace Garden)

An Ancient Tradition – PEACE GARDEN HISTORY

The concept of a Peace Garden is derived from the ancient tradition of the Greek, Viking and Gaelic peoples. Warring factions were encouraged to resolve their conflicts in a peace grove, known as “Bosco Sacro” or ‘a place of peace.’ Each peace grove had 12 trees, grown in an oval and was symbolic of the life and creativity that thrives in peace. Before entering, weapons were left outside and conflict resolution was aided by a neutral third party who would act as a go-between.


Peace Poles, located on all the continents in 180 countries around the world, each display the message and prayer above in many different languages. They symbolize the hopes and dreams of the entire human family, standing vigil in silent prayer for peace on earth. They are dedicated as monuments to peace and serve as reminders for everyone to visualize and pray for peace.

Stone Cairn – INUKSHUK  (In-ook-shook)

Lifelike figures of stone erected by Inuit people throughout Millennia, INUKSHUK means ‘in the image of man’. Unique to the Canadian Arctic, these powerful stone cairns point the way back to the Arctic Ocean and are as equally worthy of the recognition and admiration bestowed upon England’s Stonehenge and the Stone Faces of Easter Island. Now in the Third Millennium, they stand as eternal symbols of leadership, encouraging the importance of friendship and reminding us of our dependence on one another.

Memorial Fountain – FALLING TEARS

The Memorial Fountain was made to honor the memory of the many Ghost Ranch leaders who have passed on to us the real possibility of peace. Designed and built in the metal sculpture classes at Ghost Ranch during the 2012 Arts Festival using antique, riveted steel irrigation pipe from the ranch and plow disks. The fountain symbolizes tears shed for departed loved ones and Peace flowing for all. It makes a pleasant and soothing musical sound.

How to participate in the River of Peace

Send your hand-written poems, prayers or other writings written in black ink on 1/2 sheet of 8.5 x 11″ white paper to:  Judy Nelson-Moore, 23 Immanuel, Santa Fe, NM  87508
or scan and email to:


Here is a mention of some people who have been instrumental in getting the mural started:

Barbara Campbell, El Rito, New Mexico:  Created the superb design and has knowledge of how to do a big mural, and is providing the most woman-power for the project.
Judy Nelson-Moore, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Assisted with preparing the design, the tiles, testing the surface treatments, painting the terra sigillata, and will prepare the decals.
Dean Schroeder, Mountainair, New Mexico: Assisted in preparing the design, layout of the tiles, drying and loading tiles into kiln, and will be primary on the installation.

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