The 2003 piece was created in response to the September 11 attacks. The Thornton Peace Wall was meant to help youth express emotions during a confusing moment in history. Youth were asked the question, "What does peace mean to you?" They painted their response on ceramic tiles as a way to unlock their imaginations and use creativity as a catharsis for the events. The wall was meant to serve as a reminder that peace began at home.
Unfortunately, since its installation the Peace Wall tiles have begun to degrade due to Colorado’s extreme weather and use of materials unfit for outdoor public art. In 2020, the Thornton Arts Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO) Public Art Subcommittee was tasked with identifying an artist to design an updated piece to help with the deaccession of the 2003 Peace Wall.
Image of the Peace Wall in its current state.
About the New Design
The new Peace Wall design touches on the original goals of the 2003 project, engages the community, and has a visual impact. The work will integrate written quotes from community members answering the question, "What does peace mean to you?". The work will attempt to capture the hopes and dreams of individuals who call Thornton home much like the original 2003 project. Individuals will be encouraged to submit answers in whatever language(s) are spoken at home. Based on information provided by Adams 12 Five Star Schools, 105 languages are represented in the district. The top languages in Thornton include Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Mandarin, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Highlighting these languages will hopefully show the diverse cultures and people in Thornton - all working toward a better, peaceful future. The multilingual text will be paired with figurative imagery in both action and static poses to represent the community, as illustrated in the image below.
Image of the new Peace Wall.
Be a part of this community public art project! Arts Thornton is currently looking for residents to submit a brief statement answering, "What does peace mean to you?". The responses selected will reflect Thornton's diverse community through their definition of peace, and will be laser cut into the new art piece. Responses can be submitted in any language, and must be appropriate and family-friendly. Thornton reserves the right to reject any or all submissions at any time in the review and/or recommendation process. Please contact Jesse Jimenez, Arts & Culture Coordinator, at jesse.jimenez@ThorntonCO.gov with any additional questions about this project.
Please note for your responses to be considered, they must be family-friendly, appropriate and have no profanity. Click the links below to submit your response:
About the Artist
Commission of the Peace Wall: Reimagined project has been awarded to Kemba Opio, creator of Kno Design in North Austin, Texas. Opio’s approach aims to create uplifting, beautiful work that fuses fine art with design. Her objective is to incorporate everyday individuals, particularly from communities of color, in her work. Opio utilizes typography and patterns to draw attention to an individual narrative while weaving a common thread of human vulnerability and strength within every piece. Her work is influenced by Urban Contemporary Art, Pop Art, Art Nouveau, and 1960s graphic design.
Who Chose the Design?
An art review panel (consisting of community members) donated 84 hours reviewing artist submissions to ensure this project was fair and competitive, and met the needs of the Thornton community. The panel collaborates with the TASHCO Public Art Subcommittee who makes a recommendation to the TASHCO Board of Directors and receives final approval from Thornton City Council.
Who Funded This Project?
The Peace Wall: Reimagined project has a total budget of $40,500 with $37,000 applied toward all fabrication and artist costs. The remaining amount has been applied to miscellaneous costs such design stipends, public information, and project promotion costs.
This project is made possible through funding provided by the Adams County Open Space Sale Tax. The Open Space Sales Tax was approved by Adams County voters in 1999 as a 1/5 of one percent sales tax authorized through 2006. In 2004, voters approved an increase to ¼ of one percent, or 25 cents on a $100 purchase, and extended the sales tax through 2026. Proceeds from this sales tax revenue benefit parks, recreation, trails, and open space projects countywide.
Please visit our Open Calls for Artists page to learn more about other opportunities for artists. To learn more about volunteering on a public art review panel, please visit our Volunteer Thornton page.