Columbia SC Unveils Public Works of Art in the Vista


Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann, left, was among those who inaugurated the Vista Peace Pole in a ceremony on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. The peace pole carries the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages.

In a perfect world, peace would be a kind of universal language.

And as we strive for that more perfect tomorrow, the words of peace will now resound in Columbia’s Vista district, through a new public art installation.

On Tuesday, city officials and local residents dedicated the Vista Peace Pole on Senate Street, between Lincoln and Park Street, near the University of South Carolina Alumni Center. Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann was among those who took part in a ceremony to dedicate the peace pole.

Artist Eileen Blyth created the public artwork, which was funded by a number of private donors. The pole’s placement was made possible by One Columbia for Arts and Culture, the city-backed arts-promoting non-profit organization that has helped place a large number of public works of art in the capital.

As noted by a permanent marker at the site of the new Vista art installation, Peace Poles began as part of a Japanese peace movement following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. There are now more than 200,000 peace poles around the world, extolling the ideas of peace, hope and action.

The Vista Peace Pole is a steel sculpture from which a large bell hangs. Each side of the statue is decorated with the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth”. The message is written in eight languages: Japanese, English, Gullah, Hindi, Catawba, Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish. During Tuesday’s ceremony, eight guests read the message in each of the languages ​​and all rang the bell to advocate for peace.

A Columbia executive director, Lee Snelgrove, noted that a large number of peace advocacy groups had input into the Vista Peace Pole process through the Columbia Peace Pole Initiative. He also noted that the new sculpture is located near a number of other public artworks in the Vista, which has become a hub for such work.

“The Columbia Peace Pole Initiative involved a lot of people and we had to go through a lot of languages ​​to make sure they were okay,” Snelgrove said. “It’s a pleasure to finish these in this space. It’s a perfect place for it, in the Vista, adding to the Vista’s public art collection. … It’s right here in the heart of Columbia, visible to the State House, showing the important things about Columbia and what we recognize: art, peace and community.

Lori Donath, a member of the Columbia Peace Pole Initiative committee, reflected on the messages from the Vista installation.

“The eight languages ​​on this peace pole Japanese, English, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish, Gullah and Catawba — represent and honor the diversity of our local people and traditions,” said Donath. “They are the languages ​​of nation-states, they are the languages ​​of religious affiliations, they are the languages ​​of people around the world and in our community striving for a better life.”

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Chris Trainor has worked for newspapers in South Carolina for over 17 years, including past stops at the (Greenwood) Index-Journal and the (Columbia) Free Times. He is the winner of numerous South Carolina Press Association awards, including honors in column writing, government reporting, profile writing, food writing, election coverage, and more.


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