Who We Are
Artists for World Peace is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that began in 2003.
We are artists and activists who promote peace by feeding, housing, educating and providing healthcare to the most vulnerable, lifting communities to a place of hope.
Through its global family of artists and activists, AFWP will become the recognized catalyst for peace and self-sufficiency by providing replicable, sustainable humanitarian projects – one community at a time.
What We Do
Artists for World Peace raises funds through making art to support grass-roots organizations in communities around the world.
The history of Artists for World Peace begins with the creation of The International Peace Belt.
In the year 2000, Wendy Black-Nasta, an internationally acclaimed jewelry designer, received a phone call from Bill Daly, a reporter for the Connecticut newspaper, The Hartford Courant. Bill called four artists to ask how they might incorporate the old European currency, which was being replaced by the Euro, into a work of art. Having just seen her jewelry student, Celeste Bellenghieri belly dance for the first time, Wendy was mesmerized by the sight and sound of the belts these dancers wore. Her immediate thought was to gather the European coins, add the other world coins to them, and create a “belt for peace.” Wendy sent requests to her friends, family, and jewelry clients to mail her a coin from their country. For the countries where coins were not obtainable, Wendy used gemstones found in that particular region. Two years later, Wendy had 144 pieces and spent the summer of 2003 fabricating the belt with two of her apprentices, Margaret Mary Sola and Katie Rosenblatt. During those months eleven of Wendy’s students stopped by her studio to help work on the belt.
Upon its completion, caretakers Sara Morgues and Meghein Uhrich took the International Peace Belt to India for a celebration of the golden jubilee of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, India’s “God-woman,” who blessed the Peace Belt. Known simply as Amma, she is called a “living example of how personal peace is the essence of world peace.” A woman who works with Amma at her ashram wore the Peace Belt to lead the events culminating peace procession, which numbered more than 150,000 people.
With that event a foundation was born.
Since 2003, the Peace Belt has traveled to over twenty-five countries on five continents. It has been worn during hundreds of artistic performances, sacred ceremonies, and at peace and spiritual gatherings in New York (Ground Zero), South Korea, Haiti, Spain, Brazil, Tanzania, Canada, Egypt, Tonga, Scotland-the list goes on. Wherever the Peace Belt travels, dancers, artists, musicians, peace activists, and spiritual leaders meditate on and lend their voices to support peace. In this way, the belt becomes a living link between cultures and a symbol of peace and unity of all nations, of all people as one.
While The International Peace Belt remains the cornerstone of Artists for World Peace, we continually expand the scope of our projects. To date, we sponsor the living and/or educational expenses of children in India, China, Haiti,Tanzania, Nepal, and America-our “Children of Peace.” We implement sustainability projects, build “safe houses,” award scholarships and fine art grants, support battered women’s shelters, and supply food to our local food bank. With the continual growth of “who we are,” and “what we do,” our mission statement:
“The Artists for World Peace Foundation creates opportunities for artistic expression that foster world peace and raise funds to benefit humanitarian causes around the world.”
We are artists and activists, and our goal is to feed the hungry, house the poor, and encourage peace throughout the world, working one person, one family, one community at a time.
Founder/ Executive Director
Wendy Black-Nasta, founder and executive director of Artists for World Peace, has been a jewelry designer for museums, galleries, and art collectors worldwide since 1977. Her work has been featured in Sak’s Fifth Ave., Macy’s, Jacobson’s Department Stores, and I. Magnin’s. For many years, her work has also included sacred objects for churches, Buddhist monasteries, and temples in America, Hong Kong, and Europe. Wendy has also been a one of a kind designer for hundreds of clients through the Diamond District in Manhattan since the late 70′s.
Like jewelry designing, dedication to peace and human equality has been central to Black-Nasta’s life work for more than three decades. She founded Artists for World Peace in 2003 as a way to further international peace and unity through the arts. Black-Nasta designed the International Peace Belt, Artists for World Peace’s first major project, as a living link joining all peoples and cultures in a common bond of peace. Nearly a decade later, the foundation’s work has expanded to twenty two countries on five continents, where Artists for World Peace has helped build schools, created safe houses for battered women and children, and sponsored the living and educational expenses of dozens of children.
For Wendy, her work fits into her life, and she views her roles as wife, mother, artist, and peace activist as a unified experience in life’s journey.
Dr. Robert Nasta
I am happy to have joined Artists for World Peace at a time in my life when it has become far more important to give than to receive. The value of artistic expression has shaped my life and spirit, and I am excited about using my music, and the talent of other musicians, to benefit humanity on a deeper level.
Like many composers of my generation, I compose and perform in a wide variety of musical settings, and my music is influenced by the whole of European/American concert music, as well as blues, jazz, and various musical traditions from around the world. I have performed my compositions at numerous venues throughout the United States, and have taught music on the middle school, high school, and college levels. In addition to my work with Artists for World Peace, I am an Adjunct Lecturer in Music at Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Connecticut.
Please visit: www.robertnasta.com for more information about my music and current projects.
Although her family is originally from the Czech Republic, and she is fluent in Czech, Michele was born and raised in Connecticut. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, and for the past twenty years has worked in television as a producer, and as a freelance graphic designer and animator who goes by the name, Renderwoman. Now the Art Director for Artists for World Peace, Michele lives in Haddam, Connecticut, with her husband and two sons.