WESTERLY — September will be celebrated as a "Month of Peace, Remembrance, Hope," in the greater Westerly-Pawcatuck area, when The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, the Westerly Library, and the Savoy Bookshop and Café will join forces to present a series of workshops, events and films.
The three organizations will host a number of events in celebration of peace and in honor of those who fought and died in and survived WWII, in keeping with the fact that Westerly-Pawcatuck has been named "An International City of Peace."
At the gallery, visitors will be able to walk the Path of Peace Labyrinth which is modeled after the ancient labyrinth in Chartres, France. Residents are also invited to attend workshops on Sept. 1 and 21 (The International Day of Peace) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and help create Peace Cranes and Peace Flags with the idea that 1,000 peace cranes will be made as a wish for world peace. The project reflects the Japanese tradition which holds that whomever makes 1,000 cranes will have their wish granted. The "1,000 Peace Cranes" will become an installation exhibit in the gallery. Concurrently, the public is also invited to make peace flags, a tradition that finds its roots in the 2,000-year-old Tibetan Prayer Flag custom. Supplies and instructions will be available for cranes and flags and participants are asked to make one for the gallery and one to take home. The workshops are free and open to the public.
The gallery will present a special peace-themed show with works created specifically for the month’s events. Ten $100 awards, donated by Westerly-Pawcatuck International City of Peace, will be presented to artists, based on viewers’ choices. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces between Sept. 4 and 15.
On Sept. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m., a special afternoon of “Peace, Remembrance, Hope," featuring poetry readings and live music by Dave Frenette will be held at the gallery with special guest Alice Eichenbaum, a holocaust survivor, who will recount her stories of survival.
Events will conclude with the lighting of a menorah, created especially by gallery artist Sandy Webb. Rabbi Ethan Adler, the Religious leader of Congregations Beth David and Sharah Zedek, will pray the Kaddish for the 6 million Jewish lives and the 80 million lives lost world-wide in WWII. A Tree of Life created by gallery artist Robin Halpren-Ruder will be on display and the public is invited to add to it the names of anyone they wish to remember. The Congregation Sharah Zedek will supply refreshments. The afternoon of Peace, Remembrance, Hope is free and open to the public.
The Westerly Library will hold two movie nights; one on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. with a showing "The Ghost Army," and the second on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. with a showing of "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." Both films will be followed by a discussion led by John O’Malley, gardener, musician, and retired South Kingstown history teacher.
On Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., Savoy Bookshop & Café will present a World War II historical fiction discussion featuring authors James R. Benn and Beatriz Williams. Benn is the author of "When Hell Struck Twelve," the latest in his Billy Boyle mystery series, and Williams is the bestselling author of many books, including the World War II-era historical novels "The Golden Hour" and "Along the Infinite Sea."
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro