While Catalano's design had received unanimous acceptance from the competition jury and tentative approval from the National Capital Memorial Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission, in the spring of 1992, it was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, whose members found it to be disconnected from its environs, and awkward in circulation. In a letter written by J. Carter Brown, Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts, to Robert Stanton, Regional Director of the National Park Service, Brown expressed the Commission's continued support of the Peace Garden, but not Catalono's design:
"From the beginning the Commission had had serious reservations regarding the application of what is essentially a graphic two-dimensional representation of an olive branch as the basis for a garden design. Even if the symbolism could be perceived, and there is some legitimate doubt that it could, it still seems to us that the idea is too forced and contrived. [...]The solution to a design that can symbolize the purpose of such a site is of course highly elusive. There are some beginnings, however, that should at least point the way--quite obviously the beauty of the site, with its feeling of openness, its sense of sky and moving waters of the two rivers. All of these features must be capitalized upon if there is to be any chance of a successful memorial."1
Not to be discouraged, Catalano continued working on modifications of his design, until the Peace Garden Project Committee decided to begin anew with a different designer.
1) Brown, J. Carter, letter to Robert G. Stanton, 1 June, 1992.