Construction is now underway for a monument in Isla Vista’s Perfect Park to commemorate those who participated in peaceful anti-war protests during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Completion is scheduled for this June.
Located at the southern end of the Embarcadero Loop, Perfect Park was a gathering point for many protests that eventually led to various services for the community, such as the I.V. Medical Clinic, I.V. Food Co-op and the Recreation and Park District. Bob Potter, chair of the Perfect Park Monument Implementation Committee, said the park’s location is crucial to the peace-promoting atmosphere that arose around it.
“It was the only real public space in Isla Vista during the war era,” Potter said. “The park represents the movement, and we look on it as a place that can be used in future years for small gatherings, meditation and different ways that peace can be achieved.”
Funding for the $25,000 project is nearly complete, with only $600 remaining. Contributions have come mostly from private donations, as well as a $5,000 grant from UCSB’s Associated Students. A recent anonymous $9,000 donation nearly completed funding for the project.
“We do have a little bit more to raise, but the basic funding for the monument has completed,” said Diane Conn, an IVRPD boardmember who also serves as the PPMIC’s treasurer. “The goal is now to have the inauguration ceremony on June 10.”
The IVRPD’s Board of Directors conducted a nationwide search for a design of the monument, which led to the selection of six finalists and eventually to local artist Colin Gray. His design is based on cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien’s program, “The Four-Fold Way,” which examines the necessities of indigenous peoples for a balanced and peaceful life.
The design consists of four archways, representing the way of the warrior, the way of the teacher, the way of the healer and the way of the visionary. The center of the archways houses four benches, forming an integrated sitting area. The monument is meant to represent themes of active participation and, above all, peace.
“I hope at this time especially everyone will recognize how important and vital peaceful protest is in our society and culture in helping us to find ways to recognize and solve our problems,” Conn said. “It’s a welcome process in the very world we have today and needs to be remembered in the future.”