Planting a Seed for Peace
In 1985, after viewing Washington D.C.'s many monumnets to war, Elizabeth Ratcliff wondered why there were no monuments to peace. Ratcliff, a former Berkeley high school English teacher, reasoned that since the nation's Capital was meant to showcase the ideals of the country, those who visited--especially children--should come away with the knowledge that Peace is counted among them.
Thus began the grassroots movement for the creation of a Peace Garden in Washington, D.C. Garnering enthusiastic support from local Berkeley activists, members of the national design community, and the National Park Service, the Bill to establish a National Peace Garden was passed by Congress, and signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
Following a rigorous site selection process, members of the Peace Garden Project Committee, headed by landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, chose Washington D.C.'s Hains Point as the future site of the Garden. In 1989, the National Endowment for the Arts provided a $75,000 grant to help finance a design competition for the Garden. The competition attraced nearly a thousand entries from all over the country.
The exhibition showcases only a few of the entries from the design competition, including the winning design, and the process of redesign after the winning design was rejected by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. It also displays some of the educational and organizational efforts of the Peace Garden Project Committee, and the growing movement for peace-based design at the time of the Garden's inception.