The final monuments to be studied during the winter solstice and holiday season are to be found again on the New Haven Green. They are temporary monuments that have traditionally appeared on the Green in the past, the Christmas evergreen and the menorah. They exhibit a conventional mode of conveying meaning. While their physical presence is temporary, as symbols they “possess a unique concreteness and permanence” of meaning. These symbols display the unique capability of evoking similar responses from people over time. A return to precise description can aid students in understanding the permanent, physical, concrete nature of these recurrent artifacts, rather than as temporary event symbols.
The presence of these monuments alters the character of the Green. They concentrate the essence of the Green as a partially empty center, receptive to the expression of human values and beliefs, and to people’s most speculative thoughts. As symbols of birth, hope and light they concentrate our attention, not on the darkness and sparseness of winter, but on celebration and cyclical renewal. It is the season for children; the Green shares in this excitement. It welcomes this new feeling, and manifests it in a more secular symbol; The carousel gives substance to this renewal.
Dreaming New Haven II: Subjective Expression
During the winter months, when the weather may dictate remaining indoors, energy and information can be concentrated on a design project. There is once again no monument that is clearly appropriate to this time. This absence exposes a definite need. There is, paradoxically, a holiday that commemorates the life of Martin Luther King. A monument to him has yet to achieve permanent objective expression.
Designing a monument which provides expression of the man and his ideas may be structured many ways. The monument must achieve in its selection of site, choice of materials, and expressive form an expression of his ideals. These are manifest in his agency in the establishment of equal rights and economic opportunity for black people, in the unity of all people, and in the cause of international and universal peace. It must be a monument of the future to the future.
This project is a way of evaluating and applying the analytical and expressive skills that students have accumulated. In it they pass from observers and analysts of monuments to creators of them. From their exposure to public monuments and by extension through their speculation, students have discovered that monuments are not only devoted to men and their actions, but also to the beliefs and values that their lives characterized. They have learned of risk, leadership, discovery and sacrifice in their descriptions of sculptural monuments. They have been exposed to the possibilities of architectural solutions. They have witnessed the expression of monuments in a variety of forms. The product of a methodology now focuses on creation.