A once grassy patch of earth on the edge of Tacoma Community College is set to be a focal point of personal reflection and group discussions now that the college’s Non-Violence Committee has dedicated a Peace Monument on the site.
Students, staff and faculty gathered on the lawn outside Building 19 on Sept. 20 to dedicate the new Peace Monument that represents the word “peace” in 52 languages spoken by its students. Languages include Korean, Chinese, Mongolian, English, Greek, Vietnamese, Tlingit, Russian and from the Mandinka tribe of West Africa.
The kernel of the idea for the sculpture was planted by the committee some six years ago in what was first going to be a “peace pole” made of Western red cedar. But that pole would likely only last a few decades before it was too weathered to display.
“We didn’t want just a bunch of block letters that are cookie cutters,” he said. “We wanted the words themselves to be an artistic expression.” -Kyle Dillehay TCC Sculpture Instructor
“We didn’t want simply to order such a pole from a company,” said Nonviolence Committee member Susan Donaldson. “We wanted the pole to be made here on campus by students in the art program.”
The committee coordinated with TCC sculpture instructor Kyle Dillehay and his students in what became a bronze statue. Dillehay then set out to design the sculpture as an eight-foot obelisk, mixing spent bullet casings into the 700-pound tower of hollow bronze with deep patina. Dillehay and 20 sculpture students took more than 18 months to mock up and sculpt the word “peace” in different languages in ways that also represent the culture itself.
We didn’t want just a bunch of block letters that are cookie cutters,” he said. “We wanted the words themselves to be an artistic expression.
The space around the sculpture also includes benches and landscaping for group discussions as well as quiet times of personal thought. Visitors are invited take away pencil-and-paper rubbings of “peace” in whatever language they choose.