In an effort to unite the Madison community, and as the first day of “Week Without Violence,” a sculpture project entitled “Paths of Voices,” designed by a Madison West High School alumnus, was dedicated Monday.
The designer, Bradley McCallum, has created works of art across the country commemorating victims of violence.
“The project is not a memorial to tragedy but an intimate recognition, a sacred site that will make people aware of the impact violence has on our society,” McCallum said.
Hank Starkey, head of Parents of Murdered Children, said the project is a community effort to unite and stand up against youth violence in America.
“No one should have to travel through the path of violence alone,” Starkey said.
A crowd of students, faculty, parents, artists and Madison residents gathered outside of East High School to observe the dedication of the first of five sculptures to be constructed at Madison public high schools.
This sculpture, located on East High School’s front lawn, has five granite benches in a circular formation with a brick path leading to it.
Engraved on each bench are quotes, some of which are from those who have lost a family member as a result of school violence.
Behind the benches, two pillars with built-in speakers subtly amplify oral testimonies of families of murdered children, running 24 hours a day.
The goal of the project is to increase awareness of the violence that exists everywhere.
“The purpose of this project is to promote peace and expose the pain of violence,” West art teacher Don Hunt said.
Path of Voices is a nonprofit organization funded by donors, grants, gifts and various foundations in Madison. The planning committee hopes to raise money for four additional sculptures by Jan. 21, 2002.
McCallum’s mother, Gail McCallum, is part of the project committee and helps with fundraising for the project. She hopes the project will unite the community.
“The artwork provides a gathering place for students and the community to come together and reflect,” Gail McCallum said.
The four remaining sites, at Memorial, West, LaFollette and Shabazz public high schools, will be installed in the spring of 2002, if the necessary funding is provided.
Despite the large crowd at the dedication ceremony, the “Path of Voices” mission remains unknown among the majority of students, parents and faculty in Madison.
“It’s like this art thing about violence,” one East High School student said as he watched a crane drop one of the 2,000-pound granite benches onto East’s lawn, two weeks prior to the dedication.
“We’re supposed to be really special because we’re the first ones to have it,” another East High School student said.
Other high schools in the area are not aware of the project.
“To be perfectly honest, here at Memorial, I don’t think people know about it,” said Carrie Bernhardt, a guidance counselor at Memorial High School. “When they do hear about it, I’ll think they will get really excited.”