Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

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Published on May 22, 2014

Pugwash District High School students were joined by students in Grades 4 to 6 at Cyrus Eaton Elementary School to participate in a peace march and sit-in Thursday afternoon in Pugwash. The students marched from the high school to Eaton Park where they commemorated the opening of the new PeaceGround at the park. 

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park.

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Ribbons cut by PDHS art student Hayden Polley and David Farley, chair of the Pugwash Village Commission,

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Some of the art on one of the four benches.

Published on May 22, 2014

One of the four benches.

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

Published on May 22, 2014

The four benches are inspired by different people and these signs will go on the back of their respective benches. Beverly Lake (left) holds the Joseph Rotblat sign, Ceilidh Godfrey holds the sign inspired by the First Thinkers Conference Scientists, Ariel Betts holds the Cryrus Eaton sign, and Tara Murllock holds the Betrand Russel sign. The four girls were asked what peace means to them and what worries them, or what would they like to change. – Lake says she would like people to be kind to each other, and says hate is too common. – Godfrey says she’d like to see a world without negativity and the freedom to be yourself, and added that the war between Russia and the Ukraine is worrisome. – Betts would like to see an end to bullying and says peace is about people being kind to each other. – Murlock is also concerned about the conflict in Russia and wishes for a safe world where people get a long.

Published on May 22, 2014

More artwork.

Published on May 22, 2014

A fishing boat passed by in the harbour during the ceremony.

Published on May 22, 2014

Nathanael Pye was one of the students who spoke during the ceremony. He thanked many people who helped make the day a success. "This project was made possible by several organizations including Sheoneroil Foundation of the Nove Scotia Teachers Union, Communities in Bloom, Pugwash, the Pugwash and Area Community Health Board , Casey Concrete, Harrisons’ Home Hardware, and the Village Commission. We are fortunate today to have students and teachers of grades 4, 5, and 6 from Cyrus Eaton Elementary School," said Pye.

Published on May 22, 2014

Tara Murlock spoke about the important role Betrand Russell played in the Pugwash Peace Conference.

Published on May 22, 2014

Danielle Stevens talked about Cyrus Eaton.

Published on May 22, 2014

Beverly Lake spoke about Joseph Rotblat and also quoted him."The cold war is over but cold war thinking survives." "Current news about Russia and the Ukraine proves how true this is today," added Lake. "And that is why we students are doing this. Let not cold war thinking go unchecked. We are here today to promote peaceful thinking." 

Published on May 22, 2014

Zaynah Mohammad talked about the 22 scientists who attended the peace conference in Pugwash in 1957.  "As most of you know, Pugwash is world famous for peace. In 1955, Bertrand Russell made a document . It was a manifesto that was supported and signed by Albert Einstein. In this document Russell sited man’s peril if nuclear warfare were to be continued. The Einstein Russell Manifesto said how to avoid using the atomic bond and warned of the devastation it would bring to the world," said Mohammad

Published on May 22, 2014

Matthew Purdy talked about the artwork on the benches. 

"Besides the symbols that Zaynah, Bev, Tara, and Danielle have spoken to you about, you will also see lines, shapes, and patterns that are randomly drawn to create greater visual interest. People draw zen doodles to help with meditation practices. We have put these on our bench designs to show that we have learned about our history and have thought long and hard about the difference that the thinkers have made in our world. Through careful drawing, we have practiced patience and have reflected earnestly on the meaning of peace. The designs are small and intimate. You cannot learn about the images from a distance. Instead, you will have to be in close contact with the benches to learn about the story of the Pugwash Peace Movement.  We look forward to seeing you occupy these seats to think about Peace," said Purdy.

Published on May 22, 2014

Hayden Polley gave some more details on the artwork.

"I am one of the grade eight artists who worked on the bench. You will notice that all 57 artists are wearing a white shirt to symbolize peace, and have either a zen doodle like headband or arm band on. White is the symbol of peace. Pink is the symbolic colour for anti-bullying. There are twenty-two spots of pink on each of the four benches to promote better relations amongst people. The number 22 is significant as it represents the participants of the first conference. We chose May 22 for our march and peace sit-in also for this reason," said Polley.

Published on May 22, 2014

More artwork.

Published on May 22, 2014

Students gather around three of the four benches towards the end of the ceremony.

Published on May 22, 2014

People get a close up look at the artwork.

Published on May 22, 2014

The crowd disperses after the ceremony.

Published on May 22, 2014

A sign was made thanking the people who made the benches possible.

Published on May 22, 2014

Peace Ground art benches unveiled in Eaton Park

AMHERST - While many countries continue to embrace bloodshed as a way to try to resolve disputes, students in Pugwash continue to embrace peace.

"To me, peace is simple," said Beverly Lake, Grade 10 student at Pugwash District High School. "Peace is about everyone being kind to each other.

"There seems to be so much hatred in the world right now," she added. "Hate is such a common thing but it shouldn't be."

Lake was one of 60 PDHS visual arts students in Grades 8 and 10 who participated in the PeaceGround project, whereby they created artwork on benches, which are now installed at Eaton Park in Pugwash.

The project was helped with input from several groups, including Pugwash Communities in Bloom and the Pugwash Village Commission.

The installation ceremony and ribbon cutting took place Thursday afternoon. Students in Grades 4 to 6 at Cyrus Eaton Elementary School joined high school students from PDHS, as they marched from the high school to Eaton Park and participated in a sit-in.

The opening of the PeaceGround featured the reading of a letter from Paolo Cotto-Rasmusino, Secretary General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Maureen Leahey, chair of Pugwash Communities in Bloom, read the letter.

The letter, in part, said:

"We are writing to show our support for your plans to have a march and ribbon cutting on 22 May for the PeaceGround project. We are energized to hear about your efforts to learn more about the first conference held at Thinkers' Lodge in 1957. As you know, the people who gathered there at that time felt the need to draw attention to their concerns about the new developments in science and technology that threatened the very existence of humanity. More than 17,000 nuclear weapons are still bloating the world's arsenals today, while new and other threats are emerging.

"The world needs you. We need your energy, your insight, and your ‘new thinking' (as Einstein, Russell and others called for in the 1955 Manifesto that led to that first important meeting in your home town). Understanding the past is an important step in moving toward a brighter future.

"We look forward to sitting on those new thoughtfully decorated benches in the Peace Park upon our next visit to Pugwash. For now, we want you to know that your efforts have been noticed. As you recommit yourselves to the goals of that first meeting, so do we - right alongside you, even if from several time zones and an ocean away."

The afternoon also featured readings from several of the PDHS visual arts students whose artwork adorns the benches.

Mackenzie Moore is a Grade 8 student who thanked everybody for coming out, then said, "These (four) benches are a reminder of the Pugwash Peace Conference that took place in 1957, which as you know is an important part of Pugwash history. These benches are named after Bertrand Russell, Cyrus Eaton, Joseph Rotlbat, and the Twenty-two thinkers who came to talk about nuclear disarmament during the cold war."

Brianna Cameron, also a Grade 8 student, hopes people use the new benches.

"We hope that both young and old will come often to the PeaceGround. May everyone who sits here take a moment to reflect on peace, whether in quiet reflection or in conversation with one another. May all who sit here find that they, like us, have a connection to Pugwash through peace."

Hayden Polley, Grade 8 artists, then presented the four benches to the Pugwash Village Commission.

"We are happy and proud to know of our heritage and are indebted to Bertrand Russell, Cyrus Eaton, Joseph Rotblat and the Thinkers who signed the Russell/Einstein manifesto," said Polley. "On behalf of the students of PDHS and in conjunction with Communities in Bloom, it is my privilege to present these four benches to the Village Commission."

With those words, Polley asked David Farley, chair of the Pugwash Village Commission, to come forward, "to accept our gift."

Polley and Farley then cut the ribbon from the benches to officially open the PeaceGround.

   

Organizations: Pugwash District High School, Pugwash Village Commission, Pugwash Communities Cyrus Eaton Elementary School Pugwash Conferences on Science

Geographic location: Pugwash, Eaton Park, AMHERST Beverly Lake Peace Park

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  • Sandra Ionno Butcher
    May 23, 2014 - 04:14

    Thanks for this article and pictures from what looks to have been a fantastic day. Congrats to all involved with this thoughtful and important project. I know Jo Rotblat would have been thrilled to see this initiative by the students of Pugwash. The energy and enthusiasm of the students is inspiring, and I look forward to seeing these benches in person some day soon. Sandy Butcher, Executive Director, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs