For an excellent overview of the scholarly literature in the study of memory and monuments, see Kirk Savage’s online essay for the national Park Service’s research
- Kirk Savage
- http:// www.nps.gov/history/history/resedu/savage…
Perhaps the world's first peace garden, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens embody the history of twentieth-century America and reveal the complex interrelations between art and place. This essay uses the Cleveland Cultural Gardens as a lens through which to explore how art and place have intersected over time. It explores how communities have negotiated questions of national, ethnic, and American identity and embedded those identities into the vernacular landscape. It considers how the particulars of place were embedded into a public garden and asks whether it is possible for public art to transcend its place—both in terms of geography and history. In some sense, the Gardens have transcended their place, but in others respects, their fortunes were bound inextricably to that place, to the economic, demographic, and cultural contours that shaped and reshaped Northern Ohio. As works of art, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens both have reflected the history of Cleveland and American industrial cities during the 20th century and revealed something of the dynamics that underscored the changing character of public art and gardens in American cities.