Spiva dedicates ‘Peace Pole’ at park


Photo Courtesy of Jo Mueller

Mayor Mike Seibert (left), Karalee McDonald and Jo Mueller (right) place the Peace Pole plaque at the pole’s dedication on Sunday, Sept. 21 at Parr Hill Park in Joplin.

Spiva Center for the Arts and the city of Joplin dedicated a Peace Pole at Parr Hill Park on the International Day of Peace Sunday, Sept. 21. The project has been in the works since September of last year

Jo Mueller, executive director at Spiva, said 22 artists ages 6 to 12 from Spiva’s after school class, Creation Station, began work on the pole at the beginning of September 2013. The pole was finished and unveiled three weeks later on the International Day of Peace. The city placed the pole in Parr Hill Park in August of this year and at the dedication on Sunday, Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert received and placed the Peace Pole plaque.

According to www.peacepoleproject.org, philosopher, artist and teacher Masahisa Goi began the Peace Pole project in Japan shortly after World War II. Now, there are approximately 240,000 handcrafted Peace Poles in over 180 countries all over the world. Each pole displays a short message: “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

“It is considered a simple statement that has the capacity to bring people together regardless of race, beliefs or traditions,” said Mueller. “Peace Poles are a simple, constant reminder of peace – nothing more, nothing less.”

Mueller said the message of peace is written in four languages that represent the unique diversity of our community: English, Spanish, Cherokee and Vietnamese.

 Spiva Center for the Arts chose to participate in the Peace Pole project to encourage students to think globally and use creativity to express their feelings about peace, according to Mueller.

“We would like our community members to gain the desire to make peace a priority in their homes, communities and schools,” said Mueller.

Parr Hill Park will be the pole’s permanent home and Spiva staff will inspect it twice a year and perform any necessary maintenance.