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Washington and Earl Elementary Schools Imagine Whirled Peace

In today’s world, peace needs to become more than just a word, and on September 21, Earl and Washington elementary schools took part in an international art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace by “planting” pinwheels with messages of peace at the entrances of each school.

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 more than 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on September 21; there were approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. 2018 was the 14th year for event, with an estimated 5 million pinwheels spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America. Locally, art teacher Mrs. Nancy Yurkovich coordinated the Pinwheels for Peace project in the Boyertown Area School District.

“This project is non-political,” Mrs. Yurkovich explains. “Peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence or 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.”

In each of her art classes at Earl and Washington Elementary Schools, Mrs. Yurkovich’s students created pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. As part of the creation process, the students wrote their thoughts about war and peace, tolerance, and living in harmony with others on one side and on the other side, they drew, pictures to visually express their feelings.

The students “planted” their pinwheels on International Day of Peace as a public statement and art exhibit/installation.