The Peace Arch Park outdoor art exhibit, a fixture in the park for 12 years, will remain in place through this February’s Winter Olympic Games, thanks to an accommodation reached between the sponsoring United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association (USCPAA) and the Washington State Parks Commission.
USCPAA founder Christina Alexander said that having the art in place through next April is assured even though some details remain to be worked out. Earlier requests to extend the display were denied by the commission due to policies developed earlier this year restricting displays of any kind on state property, including state parks, according to Eric Watilo, the commission’s Northwest region director.
Peace Arch Park’s art installation, which Alexander said is unique in being set up on state park property, once fell under a special activities permit but that was eliminated by the new policies governing public displays of political, religious or secular content. “This policy change resulted in more limitations and no exceptions for the art exhibition,” Alexander said, adding that it was never about money.
The solution that the commission came up with, Alexander said, was to find a partner organization willing to hold the display permit for the next six months. There were several possibilities but now the list is down to two. Alexander refused to identify them until the board had a chance to deliberate at Wednesday’s meeting. “Some of the art has already been removed,” she said, “so we’re looking for some strong backs to help put it back in place.”
She said that the art will be in place by next week, and will remain in place until next April.