SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2010

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Whirled Peace The Evolution of Pinwheels for Peace In pd o rg a a te s uS Foc nization u Join us every year on September 21, International Day of Peace Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan T he idea was simple: Take square pieces of paper and create pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. As part of the creation process, write thoughts about war and peace, tolerance, and living in harmony with others on one side. On the other side, draw, paint, collage, etc. to visually express your feelings. Assemble these pinwheels and on International Day of Peace, September 21st, "plant" the pinwheels outside at public places as a statement and art installation. The spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country and maybe even the world! In 2005, we presented three workshops at the National Art Education Association convention, and before each of the presentations, took five minutes to give a brief explanation of our Pinwheels for Peace project and introduced our audience to the 46 August/September 2010 SchoolArts website, pinwheelsforpeace.com. The reaction was incredible! When we returned home, there were hundreds of e-mails waiting for us from interested participants. The enthusiasm of the art education community was as amazing as it was contagious! Art teachers joined the project and then spread the word to others and the project grew by leaps and bounds. It's amazing how in just five years a simple idea has grown into an international project that has millions of participants. On September 21, 2009, more than three million pinwheels were spinning in more than thirtyseven countries around the world. Throughout the years, we've heard wonderful stories of what the project has done for art advocacy and how it has united students, schools, and communities. The Pinwheels for Peace project has become the first big school event of the year in many schools. It has not only been a peace movement, but it has also become part of antibullying and anti-violence campaigns. The project has led to the creation of 10 Days of Peace (10daysofpeace. com) at our school. Beginning on September 11, we create powerful multiday experiences and activities with an impetus and movement for peace in our school and in our community. Each of the 10 Days of Peace brings a different focus on anti-violence and anti-bullying to our student body and is the start of a yearlong campaign for caring and compassion. Our students seem more considerate and have a better understanding of one another's feelings. After the 10 Days of Peace, we celebrate our diversity and dreams when we join millions of others around the world to plant our Pinwheels for Peace. Please join us yearly on September 21, International Day of Peace, as we make a visual public statement about peace with Pinwheels for Peace.

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