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Red Hummingbirds sing for peace through art project

PLATTSBURGH - Imagine creating a work of art that is viewed by people thousands of miles away. The Red Hummingbird Foundation doesn't have to imagine.

"The mission is to bring cultures together," explained Jeff Cochran, vice president of the nonprofit organization. "For people to present their cultures in public places."

The Red Hummingbirds, which was formed by Don and Vivian Papson in 1999, does so through various events such as multi-language poetry readings.

"The purpose is really to honor and support the people and ourselves in building stronger community relations," said Lindamarie Hill, president of the organization.

One way the group is currently following their mission is through the Global Art Project - an international art exchange for peace - which is held biannually.

According to www.globalartproject.org, the mission of the Global Art Project is to "Joyously create a culture of peace through art. The project spreads world peace by promoting tolerance and non-violence."

The Web site also states it is "an expression of the idea: We Are All One."

According to Red Hummingbird Foundation board member Kim LeClaire, those who participate in the Global Art Project are given a match, another group who they will switch their art with.

"This year our match is from England," LeClaire explained. "While we're making all of our art, they're making art in England and then we switch and have a little display."

In previous years, the organization has been matched with China, Africa and Colorado.

"The idea is ... sharing seeds of peace," said LeClaire. "They're little seeds that we're sending away that other people see and they kind of feel the energy from the work that the artist has done."

The Red Hummingbirds chose to make mandalas, which are often circular structures occurring from nature, according to Hill.

"This year, we all made little mandala masks out of [clay]," said LeClaire. "We painted them with watercolors."

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