Saturday, November 7, 2009

‘OUI’ Can Change The World

I finished my last blog story talking about a T-shirt that I had given out as a special prize at a library talent show for London youths. I think I should have told the story about the creation of this T-shirt beforehand…but since that time has passed, I’ll share the story now!

I have a lot of fun with the elementary school students who ride The Peacebus! We sing songs together, the students are always creating ‘peace’ art for the bus and I create special days on the bus, as well. For the last two months, every Friday on The Peacebus has been “T-shirt Day”.

I told the students that art is not just to be hung on our walls, it can be used for many different purposes. Since art is a way of sharing ideas and inspiration with the world we can wear T-shirts that tell the world about things that we think are important. Fridays were the days when the students were asked to wear T-shirts that had positive messages to share. I told them that they could wear T-shirts that had images of hearts, flowers, trees or animals to show that they think Nature and Love are important to them. Some students told me that they didn’t have anything like that to wear. I thought for a moment and then suggested that they could wear plain coloured T-shirts as well – blue T-shirts represented the Earth’s skies and oceans and green T-shirts represented the land of the Earth.

On these Fridays, as the students were getting off the bus, once we arrived at the school, they would show me the art on their T-shirt and I would give them one of my Peace Stik-ers! The first time I did this I handed out about ten Stik-ers. The next week and every week since then, I’ve been handing out about thirty Stik-ers as almost every student has been inspired to participate!

This went on for a few weeks and then I had an idea to create some very special peace T-shirts for the students. I could only afford to pay for a small amount of T-shirts to be made so I decided that I would create an art contest and the winners would be awarded the T-shirts.

Since these students attend a French school I came up with a funny caption that became the focus for the contest and the T-shirt design: “OUI” Can Change The World. I thought that this was a rather clever idea… if you say this outloud it sounds like ‘we can change the world’, if you translate it into English is says ‘Yes’ can change the world – which is a positive affirmation!

The students had two weeks to create their artwork for this competition and the very next day their creations starting rolling in!

Because I could only afford to give out a few T-shirts as prizes I came up with another simple (and cheaper) idea that would allow me to give each student who participated in this contest a special prize. I created a new sticker design. I was able to fit nine sticker images onto a standard size sheet of sticker paper and each page that I printed cost under 70 cents, making this affordable. The T-shirts, however, were costing me about $12.00 a shirt.

I was really excited to see the T-shirts, once they had been made. Joanne came home from work and saw me with my silly grin as I held out a T-shirt to show her. She laughed and said, “No wonder you’re always poor… every time you sell a painting you spend all your money making things for your students!” It’s true. I had recently sold a commissioned painting and now almost all of that money had been spent. I did set aside a few dollars and that evening Jo’ and I went out to enjoy one of those rare evenings out on the town where I shared with her the next peace art idea that was brewing in the back of my mind… but that’s another story!


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