Arlington-Based ‘Chalk4Peace'
Aiming for a Million Participants

(Created: Saturday, September 9, 2006 1:43 PM EDT)
Sidewalk chalk isn't just for hopscotch or four-square anymore. For John Aaron, director of the Arlington-based Chalk4Peace initiative, chalking is a way for children to express their visions of peace and to start world-wide change in the direction envisioned by people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

The aim of Chalk4Peace is a global art project, whose goal is to have one million young artists across the world drawing their concepts of peace simultaneously.

The event takes place Sept. 16-17 in more than 300 sites across the globe. In Arlington, Barcroft and Glebe elementary schools, and the H-B Woodlawn Program have signed up to participate. Students from Yorktown and Washington-Lee high schools may participate.

Although publicized as a children's event, Aaron said everyone is invited to join in.

“It's for kids of all ages, from 6 to 112,” he said. “It is an inclusionary event, as inclusionary as possible.”

In the Washington metropolitan area, Chalk4Peace aims to have tens of thousands of participants in the push for peace. But the organizers say they do not want the event branded as an anti-war effort.

“I have never used the term ‘anti-war' or ‘administration,'” Aaron said. “This is about children and their art.”

Aaron, also the director and curator of the Museum of Modern ARF in Arlington, said he hopes this kind of artistic outlet will have a positive impact on today's children and on generations to come.

“These kids are our future saviors,” he said. “I want to make that future as bright for them as possible.”

Chalk4Peace originated in the United Kingdom. Aaron started the North American version last year, with about 100 participants. Families attending the Arlington County Fair last month had an opportunity to sign up.

Chalk4Peace will take place rain or shine, and a finalized list of participating schools and venues is available on the event Web site,

Arlington students will join those from around the country in the world to participate in “Chalk4Peace” this weekend.

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