A Peace of My Mind is a multimedia arts project, created by award-winning photographer John Noltner, that uses portraits and personal stories to bridge divides and encourage dialogue around important issues.

Frustrated with an increasingly polarized world, Noltner drove 40,000 miles across the country asking people the simple question, “What does peace mean to you?”

Through exhibits, workshops, lectures and onsite studios, A Peace of My Mind leads transformative experiences that help a polarized world rediscover the common humanity that connects us.

A gifted storyteller, Noltner has worked on four continents, gathering stories of human courage, grace, and resilience. He has produced projects for national magazines, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profit organizations. A Peace of My Mind reflects his belief that art and storytelling can help individuals, organizations and communities articulate their deepest values and encourage action toward building social capital and community connections.



New for 2020 – Contact Free Studio Sessions:

A Peace of My Mind’s studio sessions offer community building in a contact-free setting. Participants record their responses via a web form and the photo session takes place in a setting where participants can always maintain social distancing.

In addition, A Peace of My Mind offers remote workshops and even remote portrait sessions. Reach out to learn more.


Transform your public space with A Peace of My Mind’s engaging exhibits, featuring compelling portraits and personal stories from diverse subjects responding to the question, “What does peace mean to you?” Our exhibits are designed to hang in a gallery or be self-supporting in any public space and all exhibits are supported by additional online content.

Keynote presentations

Noltner’s keynote address, entitles Lessons on the. Road to Peace follows his artistic journey of encountering difference discovering common ground. It draws on the wisdom of the stories he encountered on the road and his commitment to creating positive change in the world. The 20-40 minute multi-media keynote presentation can be tailored to the specific needs of your group. The keynote can be supplemented with audience participation and readings, live music (drawn from your community or provided), and a question and answer period at the end.

On-site studios

A Peace of My Mind’s on-site studios allow communities to share their story. Together, we will choose a prompt to encourage dialogue, and during our studio day, we will gather short responses, take compelling B&W portraits and combine them in a way that helps communities see themselves and their peers in new ways. Final digital files are delivered to all participants and the venues are free to use them to encourage continued dialogue. Sample questions we have used for our studio days:

-When have you bridged a divide?

-What is the unique opportunity or challenge of talking about race at this moment in history?

-When have you found unexpected courage?

-What kind of world do you want to live in?

-When have you recognized your own privilege?

-When has someone made you feel welcome?

-What is the greatest sacrifice someone has made for you?

-When have you been a source of strength for someone else?

Workshops & Breakouts:

A Peace of My Mind’s interdisciplinary approach to social issues offers a wide range of small group engagements including the following classroom discussions and workshops:

-Communications classes on the interviewing process and the ethics of editing other people’s stories.

-Sociology on qualitative research methods.

-Faith based classes or organizations on interfaith dialogue.

-Multicultural classes or organizations on going outside of your own bubble, encountering difference and building common ground.

-Art and design classes on techniques or the business of the creative field.

-Business classes on taking an idea from concept to marketplace using alternative funding tools.

-Writing workshops from 1-3 hours that explore issues of identity and our common humanity.

Having a moment to express vulnerability and honesty in this polarized world is something to cherish.
—Brisa B. Zubia, Director, Office of Intercultural & International Life, Carleton College

Many programs are instructive. A few are inspirational. Seldom one is truly transformative, but A Peace of My Mind is proving to be just that for our campus community. John drew out our individual truths, and those truths are empowering us to create a collective truth which will be stronger and more cohesive than it would have been without his visit.
—Dr. Chris Gilmer, President, West Virginia University–Parkersburg

The experience that we had with John continues long after he left. The questions that he asked encouraged people to see through other people’s eyes. It is one of the most powerful presentations that I’ve been a part of and I really do think it’s life changing.
—Keith Gaskin, Vice President of Advancement, Memphis Theological Seminary

John’s work captured the spirit of our people and deepened
our sense of connection to each other and to our collective work. The experience—in simultaneously personal and public ways—was a potent metaphor for what democracy should feel like.
—Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy

A Peace of My Mind offers a much-needed salve for these painful, polarized times we live in.
—Vijay Pendakur, Ed.D., Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students, Cornell University

John’s work was one of the most inspirational things I have experienced, and I am a tough critic. I often find motivational pieces lack authenticity and therefore leave me unsatisfied but his was as authentic as it gets. I will be reflecting on his talk and work for months (and likely years) to come.
—Patrick Robinson, Associate Dean Division of Extension at University of Wisconsin - Madison

A Peace of My Mind is one of the best examples of how
stories can heal. Through these portraits and testimonies
we can see through the eyes of others, and so reach
across rifts of class, creed and race.
—Marina Cantacuzino, Founder,
The Forgiveness Project