Filled with colorful hot air balloons, a collaged sky, and happy children, Tennessee students from three different schools collaborated to create an international stop motion film called "Peace Is In The Air."
This innovative stop motion film highlights Tennessee children’s perspectives of peace. It is inspired by the International Kids Guernica Peace Mural Project, based in Japan. The initial project was developed in 1995 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Children in Japan and the United States exchanged murals as an offering of peace. The size of their murals was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica (1937) that depicts the atrocities of war. Since its initiation, the Kids Guernica project has expanded globally to over forty different countries.
In 2005, Dr. Debrah Sickler-Voigt and Mrs. Suzanne St. John created the first Kids Guernica Peace Mural from Tennessee with children from Mitchell Neilson Elementary’s Extended School Program. Our peace mural was exhibited in Bali, Indonesia as part of their 10th Anniversary international peace mural exhibition. Dr. Sickler-Voigt also created a peace mural in Brenderup, Denmark in 2011 during a study abroad program with Dr. Isaac Larison and Lone Bodekaer.
Peace Is In the Air revisits this theme using a different medium and students. This project is the first example of a Kid’s Guernica Peace Mural using stop motion film as its medium.
Under the direction of Dr. Debrah Sickler-Voigt, MTSU Pre-Service Teachers enrolled in Art Education Practicum planned the project’s activities. To make a connection to the original peace mural in Japan, the pre-service teachers appropriated the concept of the hot air balloon. Our project started at the Tennessee School for the Blind with the diligent efforts of Ms. Monica Leister.
In the diverse school settings, all students discussed the meaning of peace and developed the collage sky background to film their project. The students created visual representations of peace that included playing, cooking, resting, and spending time with family. The students from Tennessee School for the Blind utilized found objects to create colorful hot air balloons for the production and planned the stop motion film’s initial storyline. The three first grade classes (Ms. St. John, Ms. Bunyi, and Ms. Hudson) from The Discovery School added singing sound clips and created the stop motion animations using art objects, found objects, and their bodies.
Peace Is In the Air also includes an original song about peace by musician Brian Shind and a professional music production by Dwayne Russell.
Our stop motion film adds to the collective body of International Kids Guernica peace mural projects created by children across our planet. It presents peace from the perspective of children in Middle Tennessee communities, including children who have special needs and children who are gifted and talented.
Debrah C. Sickler-Voigt, MTSU Professor of Art Education
Suzanne St. John, Discovery School First Grade Team Leader
Monica Leister, Tennessee School for the Blind
Julia Hudson, Discovery School
Angela Bunyi, Discovery School
Emily Bruce, MTSU Art Education Student
Kerri Anne Burke-White, MTSU Art Education Student
Thea Cole, MTSU Art Education Student
Briley Fulghum, MTSU Art Education Student
Ahib Hauter, MTSU Art Education Student
Zachary Hurst, MTSU Art Education Student
Lindsey Leader, MTSU Art Education Student
Lydia Shattuck, MTSU Art Education Student
Joy Shind, MTSU Art Education Student
Hannah Woodward, MTSU Art Education Student
Tennessee School for the Blind Students
Discovery School First Grade Students
Ms. Kristina Maddux: Principal, Discovery School
Nathan Travis: Tennessee School for the Blind, Interim Superintendent
Dr. Kathy Segers: Tennessee School for the Blind, Director of Instruction
Music written and performed by Brian Shind.
Special thanks to Dwayne Russell for music recording.