From intent to realization, the project was a heartfelt collaboration between the Mount and this fine artist, manifesting truly as a labor of love. The Portal is the first construction onsite, since the Mount’s official opening on April 11, 1971. Built from 1,200 year old growth Douglas fir reclaimed from the Ventura-Ojai rail line, it represents new possibilities, a threshold between one world and another. We hope that you experience the depth of energy, at multiple levels, as you pass through the Portal and enter the International Garden of Peace.
You may notice that the plaques are warped. The history is quite dramatic, as the pole, like all of the structures at Meditation Mount, survived a brush fire that swept over the Mount grounds on New Year’s Eve, 1999, damaging much of the plant life but leaving the structures intact. As the vegetation has regained its growth in the ensuing years, the warped sides of the original peace pole remain as a scarred reminder that Meditation Mount—though threatened and burned by fire—did survive to continue its service to humanity and the world.
A second Peace Pole from Japan was gifted to the Mount on January 24, 2009 at the official opening of the International Garden of Peace and dedication of the newly installed “Peace Portal”. It features the universal peace message on two sides in English and the other two sides in Japanese and Spanish. In a sense, the original pole represents the fact our planet has survived the ravages of wars that have afflicted humanity throughout history, while the new, pristine peace poll represents the ever-present possibility of a truly lasting peace.
For 50 years, Los Angeles-based artist/designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman have played a central role in the distinctive aesthetic of California mid-century modernism. Employing their deep knowledge of fine art, traditional craft, and design, the couple created a body of work remarkable for its diversity of styles, techniques, and materials. The couple has been the subject of numerous articles in the local and national press and their pieces are in many public and private collections. Today, the Ackermans’ work, highly acclaimed over the course of their collaborative partnership, is being rediscovered by both design historians and a new generation of mid-century design collectors. The first major retrospective of their work, “Masters of Mid-Century California Modernism: Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman,” was on view at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego March 29, 2009 through January 10, 2010.