A picture is worth more than a thousand words, especially when you don't know how to say any of the words.
Barbara Taylor's sixth-grade class wanted to correspond with students in the Soviet Union but couldn't make heads or tails of the Cyrillic alphabet. And the Russian students knew only a little English. So the Salt Lake students decided to send drawings, instead, of something they hoped they all had in in common - the desire for world peace.Taylor now hopes that this correspondence will be the start of a global effort to promote world communication through art.
In response to her students' drawings, Soviet teenagers from Kiev sent back their visual representations of peace. Taylor and her business partner, Elizabeth Crowder, have now taken these drawings, mixed them with a little capitalistic ingenuity, and made them into greeting cards and sweat shirts that they hope will spread the message of peace.
Taylor also hopes that other schools in Utah, and in other states and countries, will begin their own art exchanges with Soviet students. Already a first-grade class in Logan has joined the project.
"We hope the children of the world can help the adults understand about peace," explains Crowder.
The Soviet teenagers' cards are full of friendly overtures: two girls reaching out to touch each other across a globe, for example, and three children holding hands as they balance on the top of the world.
Taylor sent off the first batch of American drawings to Kiev two years ago when she was teaching English and social studies at Northwest Intermediate School. It took nine months to get a reply.
Taylor and Crowder's "Peace Creations" are available at Domus, the Great Put On and Dolly's Bookstore in Park City. Proceeds from the cards and sweat shirts will go toward paying back their expenses.
According to Taylor, who is now a social worker for the state, a Soviet Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty inspector living in Utah hopes to arrange for the drawings of American students to be made into cards and sweat shirts In Russia.