The City of Ojai Arts Commission is pleased to announce the installation of a work of art donated to the City, the Ojai City Peace Pole. The redwood column inscribed with prayers for peace is topped with sculpture of the globe encircled by two doves. The Oc-tober 21 ceremony was attended by over forty members of the public along with the donor Hazel Stillman, project producer Marta Nelson, and City representatives.
Deputy City Manager Steve McClary spoke of the original peace pole concept created in 1955 by Masahisa Goi, a Japanese survivor of Hiroshima.
According to Nelson, Goi’s followers first began distributing the wooden poles as a call to end violence in the United States during the 1980s.
“It is turbulent times like these that again make positive thoughts of peace even more important,” said Nelson, who had previously organized International Peace Day celebra-tions at The Gables. She took on the peace pole project at City Hall after fellow Gables resident Stillman, approached her about donating funds for a new peace pole project.
“Hazel is a wonderful woman and wanted to give us the money for it and I wanted the next peace pole to be at the City Hall,” said Nelson. “I wanted Ojai to be among the first cities to erect a peace pole.”
Nelson spearheaded the project along with Richard Franklin, who drew up design and material plans submitted to the City. The two enlisted the help of fellow artist Larry Carnes to work alongside Franklin, creating a ceramic globe and doves that now sit atop the six by six redwood post. Salvador Ramirez carved the post’s four sides with the peace prayers and City staff installed it.
“Marta is a joy to work with. She has a very clear vision of where she wants to go, what she wants to do. Her energy is contagious,” said McClary, who worked with Nelson and the Ojai Arts Commission to get the new pole approved.
Nelson, who is famous for inciting creative acts, also enlisted local musician and com-poser David Henderson to create Ojai’s own ode to peace, ‘Whispering of the Trees,’ played at the ceremony.
“I hope everyone can visit the new City Hall peace pole,” said Nelson. “We can use all the positive vibrations we can get.”
The peace pole is installed at the entrance to the City gardens behind the Ojai City Hall, 401 S. Ventura St.