“The People Tree” by Pierre Du Fayet is Columbia’s most visible and iconic 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.
James Rouse, Columbia’s founder, often spoke of Columbia as a garden for growing people. The People Tree is a reminder of that spirit. The personalized pavers that surround it began as part of a Lakefront revitalization project marking Columbia’s 25th birthday in 1992. Columbians continue to purchase bricks periodically through Columbia Association, and during the 50th Birthday celebration, a special section was developed with a large 50 paver in the middle.
Finding bricks of friends and family has turned into a popular activity. CA has a locator map online at www.columbiaassociation.org/bricks for those who want help.