Priority Box Project Spreads Peace One Box at a Time

© FdLM Studio

Never mind the commercialism of Valentine's Day. Here is a free gift from a real artist that carries a message of peace. Too bad we didn't plan ahead to get one today.

First noted in TreeHugger in 2008, Franck de Las Mercedes has been sending out these peace boxes since 2006 and he is still at it. Such optimism and determination.

© FdLM Studio

Located in New Jersey, he has sent 10,600 to date, to places across the world. Labeled “FRAGILE: Contains Peace”, the boxes are sent out to anyone who asks for one, for free. We have to mention the carbon footprint of the mailing, but would another way really get the point across?

On the outside is an abstract painting with the "Fragile" message. And inside? There is an idea.

The idea is a concept, a question, a time to think. Franck de Las Mercedes asks "How would you use it? Would you give it to someone else? Would you sell it? Would you just throw it away?"

© FdLM Studio

The very act of sending and receiving the box is a key part of the idea. Everyone is interacting with it: from the person requesting one, to the post office employees, to the receiver. Hopefully each person along that road can consider for an instant what the box holds, what it means and could be. The free part is part of the concept too. That is meant to "reinforce and remind us that things like peace and hope are not only free but also a priority."

The project has become a huge sensation and motivation. Franck de Las Mercedes visits schools to meet with students and discuss art. Then the students interpret the project themselves by building their own boxes.

© FdLM Studio

He himself is a tribute to the American dream. He is a Nicaraguan-born painter raised in New York City with a self-obtained education from the books in the New York Public Library.

He has a shop where he sells photographs, art work and drawings. All the money raised goes toward the Priority Boxes project.

Tags: Activism | A Picture Is Worth | Artists | Recycled Consumer Goods

Best of TreeHugger