The colorful string of handcrafted flags lifted into the air, fluttering peacefully in the Hood River winds. Teens and teachers raised their hands in benediction, sending their wishes for peace, prosperity, kindness and community out toward the towns they call home.
Those good wishes, strung up in the form of a Tibetan peace banner, continue to wave from their perch atop Hood River’s Panorama Point off of Eastside Road. They are worth a visit while on display through May 31.
Made by students in the Klahre House program, an alternative school for teens, the flags were constructed as part of a Columbia Gorge Arts in Education grant with visiting artist, Kelsey Mosely.
Learning about personal expression, artistic creation and the power art has in building community, students designed their own flags, silk-screened the artwork and wrote accompanying poetry for the project. The wishes go out to all communities touched by the wind that blows through the banner.
“I chose an ocean symbol,” said G., a 15-year-old. “The ocean is a huge mystery and very peaceful.” Students’ identities are confidential at Klahre House request, but their good will is easily shared.
“I chose a hand with a heart inside,” said E., a 16-year-old. “Hands can be used for the best or worst things – but, hopefully for the community around you.”
The teens worked on the project over the course of a month, exploring the nature of symbols, the power of words and their own hopes for the future.
Seventeen-year-old N., said, “I will hopefully succeed in my program, my life, and with my daughter.”