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Le Pont de la Paix 
A Public Art Proposal prepared for the Nation of France, 1988

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Wm. Culbertson, Artist ,  32 Warren Avenue, North Smithfield, RI 02896 
www.sculpturelab.com email: culbertson@cox.net  ;   401.766.6256 


PontPaixModel02.jpg (154813 bytes)   The Peace Bridge Proposal began in 1987. While standing along the Seine waiting for the Musee Orsay to open one morning I realized I was standing at the location of a former bridge. There were bridge pylons in the water and I was standing on a bridge abutment. After a little investigation I learned the Pont Solforino had occupied the location until a barge had accidentally hit it and destroyed it years before.

The French Bicentennial was approaching, 18 months away. I began thinking of the Statue of Liberty, recently renovated, a gift to the United States for our Centennial from the people of France. The idea of the gift of a bridge from the United States to the People of France germinated and grew. Over the next year, using limited resources, I developed a proposal and presented it. The concept was well received by the French Government. President Francois Mitterrand was in favor of the project. In the end, the American Embassy relayed the message to me that "If you can raise the money, you can build it."

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As a young, emerging artist, I neither had the experience or the knowledge of how to raise the funds. Financial necessity required my efforts on other projects... the Pont de la Paix faded away.

Shortly thereafter, the French Government announced they were building the Bridge of Europe at the same location. A competition was held for a design. I was not contacted or informed to be included. The finished bridge, touted for its beauty, is surprisingly similar in design to what I originally proposed.

While not realized, the project was of personal beneficial experience for future projects. Please realize this proposal was made prior to  the advances of the personal computer. All illustrations, drawings, etc. are by hand. The condition of the model and the drawings has deteriorated in twenty years of storage.

2007 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pont de la Paix Project conception.

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To view the original proposal and related correspondence from 1988, click on the appropriate version below: (PDF Scanned  Copy). The project received endorsements from a range of dignitaries from Former President Ford to Senator Claiborne Pell as well as from corporate executives.

English Version                     Version Francais



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