BY DEBBIE PAGE
Art students at The Brawley School, an International Baccalaureate World School, participated in the United Nations International Day of Peace on Tuesday.
Assistant Principal Misty Basham, decked out in hippie fashion with a large peace sign necklace, said that part of the mission of an IB school is to “promote global awareness and world peace.”
“We take a lot of opportunities to integrate a lot of different cultures and anything that’s internationally focused,” she explained.
“Peace Day” has been observed around the world each year since it was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution to provide a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.
Art teacher Edelweiss Vogel chose to engage her middle school students in the Pinwheels for Peace project to enhance their awareness of the observance.
After registering the school as a participant on the website, Vogel had students brainstorm their ideas associated with both world and personal peace, tolerance, and harmony on one side of the pinwheel template and then draw colorful, unique visual representations of those ideas on the other side.
Students used visual representations such as peace symbols, doves, hearts, cranes, flowers, and the two finger hand peace sign to represent their thoughts.
Vogel and her students planned to install the pinwheels around a huge, colorful yard art sign in front of the school for “International Day of Peace” on Tuesday, but heavy rains delayed their plans until the weather improves later in the week.
“The installation is to show the public that students are a part of the community and want to do something for the world,” said Vogel.
Students also painted smooth stones with peace day art to place around the school and community to spread their message.
ABOUT PINWHEELS FOR PEACE
Pinwheels for Peace, an art installation project initiated in 2005, is the brainchild Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who were then art teachers at Monarch High School in Florida.
They decided to use the pinwheel, a childhood symbol of simple, joyful, peaceful times, as a way for their students to express their feelings about world events and and their own experiences.
The project quickly spread, with millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children, and adults who desire world peace now participating in the project.
The project creators believe “violence has become commonplace and accepted as part of our society and, for some, it is a way of life. It is our hope that through the Pinwheels for Peace project, we can make a public visual statement about our feelings about war/ peace/ tolerance/ cooperation/ harmony/ unity and, in some way, maybe, awaken the public and let them know what we are thinking.”
The project is not political nor related only to war. Ayers and McMillan said the pinwheel project can represent a reaction to violence or intolerance in our daily lives or to achieving peace of mind.
Their goal is to create peace for all that is “a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.”
Since 2005, the project has gone from 500,000 pinwheels planted the first year to four million pinwheels in 2019.