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Seeking Peace in Words, Music, and Movement

this artwork by Hannah Johnson, then a first-grader at Sam Davey elementary, won first place in the 2015 “hands of peace” art contest.
This artwork by Hannah Johnson, then a first-grader at Sam Davey elementary, won first place in the 2015 “hands of peace” art contest.

Are your kids interested in expressing themselves through dance, music, drama, art, or poetry? If so, there’s an opportunity for them to take part in a unique, multidisciplinary project in Eau Claire this spring. “Hands of Peace” is a collaboration between Bared Feet, a local wellness nonprofit, and the Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School. This is the second time that Lynn Buske, a dance and yoga instructor, has organized such an event; in 2015, more than 200 kids took part.

This year, “Hands of Peace” will focus on bullying, and the program will integrate the Montessori school’s curriculum on that subject. Buske says she was inspired to create the project a few years ago when she was listening to Jack Johnson’s rendition of the song “With My Own Two Hands” while driving with her children sleeping in the back seat. The song’s lyrics – “I can change the world, with my own two hands / Make a better place, with my own two hands” – touched her, and she had a vision of children dancing together to a “beautiful message of peace,” she says.

“Kids really understand peace very well, and art is a good way for them to communicate complicated things, and a simple way for us to understand what they mean,” Buske continues.

While the project is primarily aimed at elementary-aged children, older kids can get be involved, too. Organizer Lynn Buske says kids interested in taking part in the performative aspect of the project – whether by dancing, singing, or acting in a skit – must register online by Feb. 15. Rehearsals will take place at the Montessori school in March and April, and performances will be May 13-14 at North High School.

Children interested in taking part in the related art and poetry competitions must submit their entries by March 15. Winning entries may be featured on T-shirts, posters, and programs, and they may even be integrated into the performance. (Two years ago, for example, recordings winning poems were played between performances.) For full rules on the art and poetry contests, as well as information about the project as a whole, visit and click on the “Peace Project” link.

To register your child for the dance, drama, or singing portions of the program, fill out the form online and send it to Jane Christenson at or 400 Cameron St., Eau Claire, WI 54703. If you have a middle or high school student who is interested in getting involved, contact Buske directly at or (715) 514-4648.

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