Painted pinwheels promote ‘whirled’ peace on campus

By Lauren Piercey

It was like any other Monday for most, but to some it was a day of cease-fire and the first chance for help in months.

International Day of Peace, which was Sept. 21, brings together many different countries around the world who agree to cease fire and allow humanitarian aid for 24 hours.

In honor of the observance, a prayer service — sponsored by the art department and the Baptist Student Union — dedicated nearly 300 hand-painted pinwheels to the university which are placed in front of the Townsend Memorial Library.

Senior art education major Allie Wynne looks at the pinwheels in the fl ower bed outside of the Townsend Memorial Library. Photo by Crystal Donahue

Senior art education major Allie Wynne looks at the pinwheels in the flower bed outside of the Townsend Memorial Library. Photo by Crystal Donahue

University art professor Helen Kwiatkowski said more than 50 UMHB students, faculty and staff, who were among millions all over the world, gathered to show support through a project called Pinwheels for Peace.

Kwiatkowski stumbled upon the project through research for the Art of Peace Festival which was held in Belton and benefited The Children’s Advocacy Center of Central Texas.

“I … decided that we would hand-paint pinwheels to sell at the festival to raise additional awareness and money. It was a small leap to bring the project to campus. In addition to having our art students create pinwheels, the art department invited interested faculty, staff and students to create a pinwheel,” she said.

She believes the project has brought alertness.

“The main thing that has been achieved is awareness about the ideals and goals of International Day of Peace,” Kwiatkowski said.

Many are not aware of the observance due to its untimely unveiling. The United Nations declared the day should be a day of national cease fi re and non-violence and it was set to be publicly announced Sept. 11, 2001, in front of the UN, but was canceled because of attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The colorful garden at UMHB is easily recognizable.

“The pinwheel is a symbol of childhood… simple, joyful and peaceful,”
Kwiatkowski said.

The pinwheels will remain in the garden in front of the library throughout the semester until placed in storage and displayed again next fall.

Senior Allie Wynne thinks the visual display helps promote the observation. She even helped make many of them and thinks that it should be an area wide event.

Photo by Crystal Donahue

“I definitely think this should become a tradition on campus and hopefully expand into the community because the hope for peace affects us all,” she said.

Her interpretation of peace comes from her faith.

“Peace is one of the many promises from the Savior,” Wynne said.

She believes the event should motivate people.

“International Day of Peace is something that should stir our souls, as Christians, to want to leave this world better than we found it. It’s such a beautiful idea,” she said.

Freshman Jamie Sikes also believes the project should be a continued UMHB custom.

“I think the community should be involved in this project, striving for improved peace,” she said.

Like most other students, she was unaware of the symbolic day. However, her design class made pinwheels for the garden.

She said the idea will spread.

“I think it starts small, but it will grow … year after year more people will get involved.”

Peace can be interpreted in many ways, and Sikes believes it has to do with tranquility.

“It is a state of calm, contentment within yourself,” she said.

Sophomore Ellen Buhrow thinks the garden made a statement in more ways than one.

“It was a great way to publicize the visual art department,” she said. “I think it also was a good way to bring awareness to the campus. It brought different people together for a common goal,” she said.

Buhrow took supplies to Stribling Hall, where she is a resident assistant, to get other students on campus involved in the production of pinwheels.

“Anyone could contribute to the project, which was great,” Buhrow said.

She said serenity is realistic no matter the circumstances.

“Real peace is peace with God. There will always be turmoil in the world, but if you have trusted Christ for your salvation, then you have ultimate peace with God.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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