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Whirled Peace Day

Ed Trask’s talents have taken him all over the world, but the renowned artist chooses to call Richmond home. He spoke to students September 21 at The Steward School’s tenth annual Whirled Peace Day about using art as a conduit for community service.
Ed Trask’s talents have taken him all over the world, but the renowned artist chooses to call Richmond home. He spoke to students September 21 at The Steward School’s tenth annual Whirled Peace Day about using art as a conduit for community service.

Held in honor of the International Day of Peace, the school-wide celebration was centered on the planting of student-made pinwheels—decorated with colorful drawings and messages of peace—for the whole community to enjoy. The Steward tradition was inspired by the Pinwheels for Peace project, which is a way for students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and their lives.

This year’s Whirled Peace Day occurred during the week of the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships, so it seemed only appropriate that this year’s charitable giving theme revolved around bicycles. Students and their families donated coins and dollars to directly benefit REACHcycles, a nonprofit organization based in Richmond that builds specially-equipped bicycles for disabled children and veterans.

Steward families also donated 50 bikes to be sent to Bikes for the World, a nonprofit charity that repurposes bikes and sends them to developing countries for people in need of transportation.
Bicycles provide independence and a sense of freedom for adults and children worldwide. Mr. Trask, who painted many of Richmond’s famous downtown murals and several in the halls of The Steward School, started his speech with an original story he wrote based on his childhood love for a Schwinn bicycle with BMX handlebars. “I would ride away from my house and I would explore,” he says. “I’d find new lands and push myself physically and mentally.”

He also shared his personal artistic journey—from playing in bands during his time in the Virginia Commonwealth University’s painting program to creating murals across Europe—as inspiration for students to find their own passions. “All of us are hotwired to share and collaborate with others,” he says. “Inside of all of us is a hidden explorer that longs for an outlet.”

Mr. Trask said he creates murals as a way of equalizing the community because everyone can make their own interpretations, which he compared to the levelling power of the UCI Road World Championships. “More than 80 countries are competing here... So imagine each country has hundreds of cyclists who are putting in endless hours of training for the chance to represent their country,” he says. “It’s always equal; always even. The race track is exactly the same until the race starts.”
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