Honoring the historic founding of the Peace Corps and fundamental American ideals and values the Peace Corps symbolizes
P E A C E C O R P S C O M M E M O R A T I V E F O U N D A T I O N
The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), at its September 17 meeting, voted unanimously to approve the design concept for the national Peace Corps Commemorative, designed and presented by artist/sculptor Larry Kirkland and Michael Vergason of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects.
The PCCF will finance and build this commemorative work on a small, triangular National Park Service site facing Louisiana Avenue, NW, in the heart of Washington, DC, one block from the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol Building grounds, and three blocks from Union Station. CFA approval of the design concept is a positive step forward in support of fundraising campaign efforts for completing design, engineering and construction of this unique project.
The Congressionally authorized Peace Corps Commemorative will symbolize, honor and celebrate those aspects of the American ethos, our country’s noblest ideals and values, that motivated creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 and that will remain forever meaningful. The American ethos, “the better angels of our nature,” is implicit in Sargent Shriver’s words about the idea of the Peace Corps and what it represents: “transcending boundaries of culture and language…on the common ground of service to human welfare and human dignity…to live and work with, and to learn from, peoples in need around the world, in the cause of mutual understanding and peace.”
The CFA-approved design concept comprises three curved, sculpted granite benches within an intimate circular plaza, each bench with an outreaching human hand symbolizing giving and receiving, teaching and learning. The bench-hand sculptures surround a world map inscribed within the granite plaza and showing earth’s continents without geopolitical boundaries. Interpretive texts inscribed on the three bench backs will face the three surrounding streets and will be seen by visitors walking into the plaza.
A grove of deciduous trees — their trunks, limbs and seasonal leaf canopies — will define, frame and shade the entire triangular park. Native perennial ground covers and shrubs will occupy most of the triangular site area. This integrated ensemble of sculpture and vegetation will create at once an attractive, ecologically sensitive park for the neighborhood and city as well as a memorable, national commemorative work.
“At this moment in American history,” said PCCF president Roger K. Lewis (Tunisia 1964-66), “permanently conveying this message at this place within the national capital’s urban landscape could not be more timely or significant.”
Additional information and images are available on the PCCF website, PeaceCorpsDesign.
Contact: Roger K. Lewis (Tunisia 1964-66), President, Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF) firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-494-6975