“The People Tree” by Pierre Du Fayet is Columbia’s most visible and symbolic sculpture. This civic monument is the artistic interpretation of Columbia’s goal to create an environment that contributes to the growth of people and foster community spirit. Abstract human figures reach out from a central core like a tree in full bloom. The feet are connected, suggesting people working together, while their arms are reaching out, symbolizing the spirit of individual intellectual and artistic growth.
DuFayet was an industrial designer and commercial artist hired by The Rouse Company in 1965 to work on the Columbia project. He had emigrated from Paris to New York in 1956 searching for new ideas and was experimenting with technologies such as solar cells and lightweight concrete in his sculpture before joining Rouse. The People Tree utilizes fiberglass to create a sculpture light enough to sit atop the slender trunk. Gold leaf provides the sparkle.
James Rouse, Columbia’s founder, often spoke of Columbia as a garden for growing people. The People Tree and the personalized brick pavers placed by Columbia’s resident that surround it are a reminder of that spirit. The personalized pavers began as part of a lakefront revitalization project marking Columbia’s 25th birthday in 1992. Columbians continue to purchase bricks periodically through CA. Finding bricks of friends and family has turned into a popular activity. CA has a locator map online at ColumbiaAssociation.org/bricks for those who want help.
Downtown Columbia and other areas of our community are replete with public art. Learn more about many of these pieces by clicking here.