PINWHEELS FOR PEACE
In today’s world, peace needs to become more than just a word. The week of September 18th, 2017, Saucon Valley Middle School of Hellertown, PA planned to take part in an International art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace by “planting” pinwheels with messages of peace on the lawn in the bus loop. However, due to Mother Nature and some other scheduling conflicts, SVMS was a little late. Nonetheless, the message for peace was delivered.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, of Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives. In the first year, groups in over 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on September 21st – there were approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. Last year (year 11), 2016, over 4.5 million pinwheels were spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America. Locally, Felicia Parish, middle school Art teacher, coordinated the Pinwheels for Peace project this year.
This project is non-political – peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence/intolerance in our daily lives, to peace of mind. To each of us, peace can take on a different meaning, but, in the end, it all comes down to a simple definition: “a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.”
Saucon Valley Middle School students created hundreds of these peace-seeking pinwheels. As part of the creation process, the students wrote their thoughts about “war and peace/tolerance/ living in harmony with others” on one side. On the other side, they drew, painted, sketched, etc. to visually express their feelings. The students assembled these pinwheels in recognition of International Day of Peace. Then, students “planted” the pinwheels on the lawn in the bus loop as a public statement and art exhibit.
The spinning of the pinwheels in the wind was designed to symbolize the spread of thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country and the world!