Our project began with this driving question put to a team of wise and thought-provoking college students at Grant Grover School, part of College of Marin. Each student is coping with a challenge. Their responses included a world where everyone can give their gifts, where people walk the city in peace, where there’s more Nature, butterflies and horses, safety for people and animals and clean water. A place with no alcoholism or drug use, no name calling and fighting. A place where there are smiles and laughter, where people learn how to fix breakdowns and where Love = Life without Limits. From this conversation, 8th grade Novato Charter School student Gabriella Borges and I made a study. The students colored the studies and I put together their color ideas into a plan.
As part of our project, I incorporated ideas from the Institute of Noetic Sciences’ Worldview Literacy Curriculum. We explored how people look at life through different beliefs, like putting on sunglasses. As we watched the film called “Music by Prudence” about special needs students who create music in Zimbabwe, we heard Prudence say that some people see those with handicaps as burdens, but she knows they are stars. Prudence, whose documentary won an academy aware, has become an international star. I gave all the students sunglasses, which they put on, looking at themselves and each other through the lens of “burden.” I asked them what they thought “burden” meant: “A heavy load”, “something you always have to carry”, “something that doesn’t give back”.
Then everyone took their sunglasses off and we talked about how Prudence is a star and how each of them is a star. Each student made a star and a peace sign, as symbol of being at peace with who they are. This exercise was inspired by IONS’ Worldview Literacy Curriculum.
We gridded the study, gridded the board, drew the image and painted it.
After eight weeks of painting, we completed the 6.5′ x 4′ painting, which will be part of the Summer of Peace 2012, an initiative of the Shift Network.