In today’s world, peace needs to become more than just a word. On Sept. 23, Lantern Road Elementary School took part in their seventh international art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace, by “planting” pinwheels with messages of peace at LRES and the Hamilton Southeastern Administrative Offices.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, of Coconut Creek, Fla., as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s happening in the world and in their lives. In the first year, groups in over 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on Sept. 21 – approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. Last year, over 4 million pinwheels were spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America. Carrie Billman, LRES art educator, coordinated the Pinwheels for Peace project this year.
Billman said Ayres and McMillan chose making pinwheels as a symbol of peace because pinwheels are easily accessible, can be made cheaply, do not disrupt the environment and are something that anyone can make, whether they are 5 or 95 years old.
LRES artists in grades kindergarten through 4, along with staff, made pinwheels of all designs as part of the creation process. Students wrote their thoughts about war and peace, tolerance, sportsmanship and living in harmony with others on one side. On the other side they drew, painted, made collages, etc., to visually express their feelings. The students’ parents volunteered to assemble these pinwheels and on International Day of Peace they “planted” their pinwheels at LRES for grades kindergarten through 3 artists and at HSE Administrative Offices for fourth grade artists, as a public statement and art exhibit.
“Peace is not just one big wish but maybe an act to get along with your brother a little bit better,” Billman said. “I know they’re thinking about making better choices; they’re writing about it and connecting peaceful choices. They are making good choices to make good friends and with family.”