Creative place making – Pt. I

The world is but a canvas to our imagination.  -Henry David Thoreau


Today we’re going to continue our discussion of creative place making and bringing art into our community.  These are all ideas I’ve been stashing away for years, and to be honest, since most of the Board of Commissioners isn’t too fond of me (I can’t imagine why) I decided long ago that if they came from me, it was guaranteeing they wouldn’t be used.  There’s definitely a precedent for them rejecting programs from someone they dislike.  But more recently I decided the Hope Mills community needs to be aware these programs exist, how easily accomplished they are, and how beneficial they would be to our town.

Masahisa Goi conceived of the idea of peace poles in 1955 in Japan.  Goi was distraught over the mass destruction caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of WWII.  His idea has grown into The World Peace Prayer Society and poles have been erected in more than 200 countries.  “May peace prevail on earth” is painted on each side of the pole in different languages and the poles are distributed in public places.

Peace poles didn’t migrate outside of Japan until 1983, but since then the concept has evolved and morphed into something fabulous.  Today, art poles are used to educate the community, commemorate an event, place or person, or simply to beautify an area.


Art poles and peace poles are one of a dozen ways Hope Mills could implement creative place making.


As the idea morphed, so did the poles.  While the most common is a 4×4 in. pole, thinner poles are also used and round poles.  Communities also play with the height.  I’ve seen examples as small as 2 feet and as tall as 10 feet.  Some are beautifully engraved while others are simply painted or stenciled.  And, you can buy solar power lighted caps for the 4×4 inch poles, making them a light source for darkened areas and trails.


We have dozens of civic organizations who could adopt this program. The  veteran community could adapt it to make commemorative poles for veterans.  We could place them around the golf course walking trail with information about indigenous animals and plant life.  The newly deployed sponsor program could incorporate it and local businesses or groups could ‘adopt’ a pole with their own message and we could establish pole gardens throughout municipal park.  Local businesses can also adopt the program to beautify their own landscape.

Every organization in town could conceivably adopt this program and we could have colorful peace poles all over our community.


This particular program requires so little initial investment and has such potential for profit, it can be used to fund other bigger art projects.  The proceeds from this year’s poles could potentially fund next year’s murals.

In other news…

Earl Vaughan’s editorial in Up & Coming Weekly, about the loss of the UNCP sculptures, has ruffled the feathers of some of the board members.

A special meeting is scheduled for Monday March 25 at 6pm in the Board room at Town Hall.  The purpose of the meeting is…”To discuss the Art in the Park project as well as the recent media coverage of the Board related to this and other matters. The meeting will also include a closed session to discuss personnel matters. Action may be taken by the Board with regard to these items at the special meeting.”

Sadly, now members of this board have weaponized art…or the lack thereof.  I predict they will argue they don’t want to undo everything the previous board did, they will want a retraction and they will do all of this in the most passive/aggressive way possible.





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