Maine artists gathered at the Statehouse Feb. 18, to express what could be accomplished if the $2.5 million used for military spending was put toward other things. The event was on behalf of the “Bring Our War Dollars Home” campaign, but instead of voicing their views, the artists spoke loud and clear in a more unique way.

They sat in the Hall of Flags from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., translating into pictures the opinions of passersby about how they would like to see their money spent. The point was to visually convey the hundreds of other ways taxpayers’ dollars could be spent other than war.

The artists’ canvasses were pink paper supplied by Code Pink — a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and redirect those resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.

“We called upon these artists to help envision where dollars would go,” said Lisa Savage, local coordinator for Code Pink Maine. “We spend $2.5 million in our state alone, and it is not sustainable.”

Some of the different ideas the artists transformed into art included: ice skates and ponds for every kid in Maine, bike paths, free college educations and camping trips.

There was even a picture of a “Cash Bazooka” blasting the riches back to the masses

“We offer these drawings as suggestions for wiser and healthier uses for our tax dollars,” said Rob Shetterly, who was one of several artists busy putting people’s words into pictures. “We believe the primary functions of government are to enhance community, protect the environment, care for the unfortunate and provide education.”

While the artists worked on their images, speakers took the podium and animated poet Martin Steingesser delivered a powerful reading of his poem “Money Medicine,” which deals with questionable and perhaps even needless spending. Musicians Hana and Tucker Morris, a mother and son duo, also performed an original song they co-wrote specifically for the “Bring Our War Dollars Home” campaign.

After all of the artwork was completed at 1 p.m. it was delivered to various legislative offices so those who work in them, and were sent there to represent Maine taxpayers, could see that, as Savage said, “This is the life we could and should have, if we bring these dollars home.”

For more information about the event or the “Bring our War Dollars Home” campaign, visit bringourwardollarshome.org.