peace wheel spinning by kidsA decade after Julie Caldwell had the initial inspiration to build a peace park in Elko, Nevada, the community is spinning the park’s final installation, a hand-crafted 3000 pound “Universal Peace Wheel,” which is filled with thousands of hand-written notes and printed mantras collected by volunteers, and sent in, from people wishing for peace.

An inviting gazebo houses the cylindrical copper art form adapted from Tibetan Buddhist culture that features 36 colorful peace symbols from around the world on 80 wheel that provide the rotating outer casing.

The embossed casing crafted in Nepal by Gopel Sapota was hand painted by a team of local artists led by Julie Caldwell and installed by Jim McCann. The design process included five artists from four countries (Nepal, Canada, Tibet, USA).

It is the final installation, and the most difficult one to build, for the Elko Peace Park enthusiasts, who have written grants and lobbied for funding on the local, state and federal level, raising a million dollars.

Inside the wheel thousands of handwritten peace statements, wound by hundreds of volunteers around the wheel’s central shaft, called the Tree of Life. The peace statements were collected from local Elko County School students and residents. It is believed that every time a visitor spins the wheel, millions of wishes for peace and healing go out into the world.

The city of Elko, with a population of less than 20,000 in Northeast Nevada, invited the artists and poets, aroused by the idea of peace following the Iraq War, to build the park on an 8-acre parcel of land donated by the Bente family. In 2007, the Tibetan Lama, Zopa Rinpoche, performed a traditional land blessing on the property.

Peace Wheel in Elko w kidsThe park now features a medicine wheel, installed by the Te-Mok Shoshone Western Band of Native Americans, a labyrinth, and natural gardens nestled among pathways and bridges along a creek, and includes a pet-friendly trail system, a small amphitheater, picnic areas, shade structures, and bathrooms.

The global community is invited to celebrate International Peace Day at the Elko Peace Park on Saturday, September 14, where three stages of entertainment, art and poetry will, send further wishes for peace out into the world.

The group is on its final fundraising leg, collecting donations to build a permanent sign explaining the significance and meaning of the wheel. To donate, visit:

See all the photos documenting all the steps of building the wheel on their Facebook page.

(WATCH the video below from KENV-TV)

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