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Cherokee Puts Pinwheels for Peace on Public Display

Cherokee Puts Pinwheels for Peace on Public Display

“Peace is the sun basically. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive.”

Cherokee Elementary fourth-grader Katie Stengel shared these words, reflecting on the importance of her school’s recent “Pinwheels for Peace” art project. Students at every grade level participated, ultimately putting on public display thousands of things that bring them peace on a daily basis. 

Cherokee art teacher Cathy Dorff adopted the art installation project originally started by two art teachers in 2005. Since its inception, the project has spread to 3,500 locations worldwide, amounting to more than 4.5 million pinwheels planted on Sept. 21, or International Day of Peace. 

“I always try to do something collaborative and across all grade levels. With everything going on in the world today, I saw this and knew it was the right time to introduce it,” said Dorff, reiterating that the exercise was non-political and instead encouraged students to reflect on what brings them peace of mind. Students were challenged to write their thoughts about peace, tolerance and living in harmony with others and then visually express those things on their handcrafted pinwheels.

Dorff acknowledged that peace can take on a whole host of meanings, but comes down to what brings you individual peace. In the end, students’ definitions of peace varied from dancing and helping others to rainbows and statements like “Be positive.”

Students planted their final creations in the shape of two peace signs. The art installation is visible to cars passing by the school on Kyles Station Road. 

“I hope it help people stay calm and not be mean to others,” shared fourth-grader Cohen Marshall.

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