THE PEACE BOXES
The Priority Boxes Art Project
by Franck de las Mercedes © 2006-2016
With labels that read "Fragile Contains:Peace, Love or Hope", visual artist Franck de Las Mercedes sent abstractly painted, seemingly empty boxes to anybody, anywhere in the world for free.
They've traveled the globe, become a teaching tool in classrooms, entered galleries, museums, libraries and even lit up the iconic LED screens of Times Square, NYC. For over ten years,
NYC visual artist Franck de las Mercedes, named one of “15 Artists to Dominate 2015” by Complex Magazine, has sent more than 18'000 painted, seemingly empty boxes with labels that read "Fragile Contains: Peace, Love or Hope" to people around the world without charging a penny. The project has been funded by the artist, donations from supporters and a
paint sponsorship from Pébéo. Since its beginning in 2006, The Priority Boxes project (AKA Peace Boxes) has brought contemporary art to a broader audience, encouraging
people to participate in conversations about art and peace, while challenging them to consider their ability to influence change and question the fragility, value and priority given to those concepts. Each box is both a canvas for a unique abstract painting and a platform for communication through art - a mixture of art and social engagement The peace boxes quickly evolved into a movement embraced by popular culture, the mainstream media, schools and art educators across America and abroad.
The message of the boxes continues to be adopted as teaching tool for educators, community centers and art therapy counselors across the US. In the summer of 2012 an image of a
“Peace Box” was exhibited on the iconic LED screens of Times Square. In 2014, the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a joint legislative resolution honoring Franck and the Peace Boxes Project.
"After a chance encounter at the Post Office, I began thinking: We always expect something of value to come in a box, but what if the box was empty yet contained something symbolic with a positive, challenging or inspiring message. It was at that moment that I decided to start an experiment in an effort to provoke thought and ask people to reconsider their ability to influence change. I wanted to create dialogue, so I started sending empty, painted boxes to anyone who
requested one, anywhere in the world - for free. I decided to send the boxes without charging a penny for the work or shipping, to convey the message that something of such priority as peace should not have a price. And that art can be both inclusive and accessible."
- Franck de las Mercedes
After 10 amazing years, the project came to a close in May 2016.
You can buy a commemorative Peace Box photo signed by the artist.
Some boxes are occasionally made for special exhibits or art collectors.