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[teacherartexchange] Pinwheels for Peace, Sept. 21, 2006


From: Ann Ayers (art304_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 20 2006 - 14:13:45 PDT

Pinwheels for Peace
In today’s world, peace needs to become more than just a word.

Today’s students are bombarded with television images, video games,
and magazine articles/newspapers that give importance to conflict and
war. Violence has become commonplace and accepted as part of our
society and, for some students, it is a way of life. It is our hope
that through the Pinwheels for Peace project, we can help the
students make a public visual statement about their feelings about
war/ peace/ tolerance/ cooperation/ harmony/ unity and, in some way,
maybe, awaken the public and let them know what the next generation
is thinking.

This is not 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.

A pinwheel is a childhood symbol – it reminds us of a time when
things were simple, joyful, peaceful. A pinwheel is easily made using
just about any type of material, from copy paper, to thin plastic, to
lightweight metal. The stick of the pinwheel can be as simple as a
pencil or as intricate as a carved stick or metal rod. Pinwheels can
be made as small as one inch in diameter or as large as desired –
limited only by the creator’s materials and motivation. Pinwheels can
be minimal or very complex – imagination, creativity (and a mild
breeze) are the only variables needed.

Students will create pinwheels, pinwheels of all shapes and sizes –
as part of the creation process, the students will write their
thoughts about "war and peace / tolerance/ living in harmony with
others" on one side. The writing can be poetry, prose, haiku, or
essay-style – whatever writing form is appropriate as the children
express themselves. On the other side, the students will draw, paint,
collage, etc. to visually express their feelings. They will assemble
these pinwheels and on International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, 2006,
everyone will "plant" their pinwheels outside (at the schools,
museum, public places, etc.) as a public statement and art exhibit/
installation. The spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread
thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country, the world!

Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by
two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who teach at Monarch
High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for students to
express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in
their lives. The project was quickly embraced by their students and
the entire school community.

The first Pinwheels for Peace were installed on Sept. 21, 2005. We
estimate that 500,000 pinwheels were planted in over 1,350 locations
throughout the world! This year, we're hoping for over a million

Please plan to join us again, on Sept. 21, 2006, as we once again
celebrate International Day of Peace with "whirled peace!"

Go to for more information,
directions, and pinwheel templates. If you are participating, please
register on our site (click "join the project") so that your location
can be "counted". Thanks!

If you have any questions, please contact us

Ann Ayers & Ellen McMillan

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