Bedford artist Christine Wojnar’s vision has become the Town’s newest public art installation—a quartet of Peace Poles scattered around Bedford’s newly-established Cultural District. The project was funded in part by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency; the Bedford Cultural District; and First Parish Bedford’s Social Responsibility Council.
Wojnar noted that the Peace Pole concept has evolved over time to become an artistic expression of inspiration, hope, and beauty in many forms.
“During our lockdown last year, I was inspired by the creativity of our residents, especially the children, as we made chalk drawings on the streets, hung pictures and teddy bears in windows to uplift and encourage one another,” she continued. “I made a peace pole for my front yard. Knowing about our town’s impending designation as a cultural district, I suggested an installation of ‘peace poles’ as a way to inspire, give hope and encouragement as we emerge from this difﬁcult year.”
A call for artists went out early in 2021 and entries were juried by Bedford Arts and Craft Society members Sylvia Mallory, Doris Smith, and Penny Leslie. The poles were installed recently by Mark Levine and Michael Barbehenn of Bedford’s Trails Committee.
Four artists were selected to paint a Peace Pole according to their vision.
A registered art therapist, Colette Crowley “created art containing messages and images which speak to my beliefs about actions and ways of thinking that have the potential to create or promote peace in small and big ways. A solid color panel tops each side of her Peace Pole; the colors are taken from medicine wheels, representing the four directions and four races on earth. “The phrase ‘Miktauye Oyasin’ comes to mind,” says Crowley. “meaning ‘All my relations.'”
Crowley’s Peace Pole is located near the entrance to the new wing of the Bedford Free Public Library.
The sides of Vivianna Mo’s Peace Pole represent peace and tranquility in daily life; innovation and growth; longevity and endurance; and connections beyond our communities. Mo says, “There is more to peace than just the symbol and the dove. Peace is whimsical. Peace is tranquil. Peace is calming. Peace is also strength, unity, and growth.”
Mo’s Peace Pole is located along the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail near Memorial Park.
Sarah Scoville and her family have lived in Bedford for a dozen years, loving its sense of community and participating in its many facets. Her Peace Pole depicts ” a diverse and bright town with different color homes and encourages the sense of community with the words “Home” and “Community”. The design complements the utility box she painted at the entrance to the Bedford Marketplace on The Great Road.
Scoville’s Peace Pole is located at Depot Park, near the entrance to the bike path.
Hy Zhitnik reflected on a seed that grows, flowers, and ultimately bears fruit as a metaphor. ” Evolving—to a better place, both individually and communally—can result from continued mindfulness and reflection,” said Zhitnik. “This better place within us is already there, just covered over. Peace in our communities, despite our differences, is more possible if we start from peace within.” He used handpainted versions of plant images of graphic illustrations by SkyVector.
Zhitnik’s Peace Pole is near the beginning of the narrow gauge trail just off Loomis Street.