Although much of the focus this week is on the Homecoming festivities at East Hampton High School, the weekend activities actually kick off in a tranquil way, with the John M. Marshall Elementary School students participating in a global art installation that celebrates world peace. Students and staff will spend Friday morning "planting" over 600 pinwheels in the soccer field as part of the international art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace.
The ceremony only lasts a few minutes before the students return to class.
Last year’s local effort saw over 600 pinwheels planted in the shape of a peace sign, and spelling out the word “PEACE,” by the students of JMMES. Those 600 joined the over 4 million pinwheels planted by children last year on Sept. 21, in 3,500 locations around the world.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Floridian art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, as a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.
Irene Riva-Quinn, a bilingual first grade teacher, who brought the project to East Hampton four years ago as part of her involvement in Equity in Excellence, said, “It’s an opportunity for us to talk to our children about peace – peace with each other in the lower grades, and on a larger scale with the older children.”
Students at John Marshall will create pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. Ms. Riva-Quinn said that she couldn’t have done it without donations – like the approximately 500 straws that the East Hampton Starbucks gave to help construct the pinwheels. “We also use beads and pipe cleaners,” she said.
She also hopes eventually to involve the East Hampton Middle School too. “It might seem like a kiddie thing, but it’s not just fluff,” she explained. “Can you imagine how powerful it would be to have all those children involved?”
“I love it, I love being involved. Let the winds of peace blow,” she said.
The event is not open to the public.
For more information about the organization, go to http://www.pinwheelsforpeace.com.