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Release Date: Nov 01, 2012

NEW YORK, N.Y. –  Brooklyn-based architecture firm Matter Practice, directed by Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger, is partnering with Times Square Arts, the public art division of the Times Square Alliance, on Peace & Quiet, a temporary dialogue station where veterans and civilians can openly engage each other in conversation in the heart of Times Square. The experience is intended to respectfully introduce empathy, compassion, and understanding between veterans and civilians. The Station will serve as a safe space for veterans and civilians to share a conversation—whether it be about conflict, separation from families, or unexpected issues that have arisen since returning home and reentering society.

The Station, located in Duffy Square, Broadway between 46th & 47th Streets, opens on Veterans Day, November 11, and runs every day from 12–8 p.m. through November 16. Conversations start on the hour and will last approximately 30 minutes.  

“We are very proud to be partnering with Matter Practice on this very important project,” said Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art at the Times Square Alliance. “Through an artistic intervention within our wonderfully chaotic public landscape, these architects have created a safe private space for veterans to share their experiences upon returning home."

“We initiated this project in part out of recognition that, although we considered ourselves informed citizens, we were completely segregated from any direct contact with the veteran community,” states Sandra Wheeler of MATTER. “Discussions between civilians and veterans often fall prey to judgment, stereotypes, or bi-partisan politics simply because these two groups do not know enough about one another.  Through conversations focusing on the human experience, we’ve been surprised to discover that there is significantly more common ground than one would think. These are the kinds of conversations we, as a civic society, need to have.”

Working with organizations that support returning U.S. veterans, Times Square visitors can reserve their participation to have open discussions onsite, bridging a gap between veterans and civilians.  Veterans and civilians who are interested in participating can sign up by visiting the station located on Duffy Square, at the other end of Times Square from the U.S. Army recruiting station, or by phone or online:

  • Visiting www.peaceandquiet.eventbrite.com and joining a conversation
  • Calling (718) 855-2255, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Visiting the Dialogue Station during hours of operation, November 11 through 16

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

Matter Practice is collaborating with StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative, a program which records, shares, and preserves the stories of post 9/11 veterans, active-duty service members, and their families; the Pat Tillman Foundation and its Tillman Military Scholars; Code of Support Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between civilian and military America; and Brian Fernandes-Halloran, a socially engaged artist, curator, and organizer whose works encourage personal reflection and progressive dialogue by providing an alternative environment and medium for communication. Early program consultants include Scott Thompson and Larry Winters, Co-Creators, Veteran-Civilian Dialogue, and the team at Intersections International. Environmental Graphics: VosBrenner; Structural Engineering: Hage Engineering PC. Furnishings generously provide by Emeco.

Follow the project on Twitter @Peace_Quiet_TSq or by using #PQTSq. Like the project on Facebook

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About Times Square Arts:
Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, presents leading contemporary art and performances in multiple forms and media to more than 400,000 daily visitors to New York City’s Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, Times Square Arts has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists. Times Square Arts is partially funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts for more information. Follow us on Twitter: @TSqArts

About Matter Practice:
Matter Practice is a Brooklyn-based architecture practice co-directed by Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger. MATTER's work encompasses architecture, exhibition design, custom fabrication, and proposals for building in the public environment. The office practices along two fundamental lines of focus as demonstrated by research initiatives and completed projects: material innovation, and the deployment of architecture to engage relevant social themes to large and varying bodies of public. To support Peace & Quiet, please visit the Kickstarter page.