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Imagine whirled peace

In today’s world, it may seem like peace is an unachievable dream. With countries at war in several places in the world, many are becoming disenchanted with the quest for “world peace.”

However, local Girl Scouts are joining in a nationwide project to promote the ideal of peace. 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, Fla., 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 and by millions of teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.

“A pinwheel is a childhood symbol,” says the Pinwheels for Peace Web site. “It reminds us of a time when things were simple, joyful, peaceful.”

For Pinwheels for Peace, students will create pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. As part of the creation process, the students will write their thoughts about war and peace, tolerance, and living in harmony 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, 2008, everyone will “plant” their pinwheels outside (at the schools, museum, public places, etc.) as a public statement and art exhibit/installation.

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.

Local Girl Scouts are taking the lead in the Hampton Roads Pinwheels for Peace project. Girl Scouts will be at local malls on Sept. 20-21 from noon to 4 p.m. to help make pinwheels. You can take your pinwheel home as a reminder or offer it to the Girl Scouts for a community exhibit that will be placed in front of community centers throughout the area. Participating malls include Greenbrier Mall, Chesapeake Square Mall, Patrick Henry Mall, Military Circle Mall, Pembroke Mall, the Macy’s at Lynnhaven Mall, the indoor Williamsburg Outlet Mall, and the Southgate Mall in Elizabeth City, N.C.

If you can’t make it out to one of the malls, get some ideas for making your own pinwheels at www.pinwheelsforpeace.com.