More on monuments
It has become clear that the proposed public art project to commemorate President Theodore Roosevelt is more than a question of the design of a sculpture. As Mayor Heidi Harmon’s thoughtful comments bring to light, this project also questions whether we want to honor anyone publicly at all.
I am an architect and have studied monuments; the most visited seem to be those that are nonfigurative, non-portrait like, with a clear visual image like the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Applying this approach, a design commemorating Theodore Roosevelt’s creation of our national parks, a treasure for us all, might be sculpted mountains, Half Dome, a canyon and trees accompanied with a plaque.
Regarding the bigger question the mayor raises, why is the city considering having a sculpture made and placed in a city park? Imagining this sculpture in Mitchell Park, who would see it? Would it be a landmark? And what would the message be? I propose a memorial honoring the creation of our national parks: a good message reflecting our city’s and our country’s values. – Jerry Breakstone, San Luis Obispo