The Reason for the Tree
Greenville is and aspires to be a community of compassion—with equal care and concern for all our citizens. Having a physical embodiment as a metaphor for this shared community commitment will allow people who encounter the sculpture in Heritage Green to be reminded of the power of shared compassion.
There are many powerful visible signifiers of a community's culture, of its history, or of its aspirations. On a grand, countrywide scale we think about symbols like the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, and of the Alhambra. Every community has some visible evidence of its history, its culture, and its beliefs and hopes for the future.
Often, the visible signifiers are not premeditated and intentional but are a natural byproduct of the industry and ingenuity of the community. An example of this could be the windmills of the Netherlands. In our own community, we have begun to recognize the textile mill water towers as a proud symbol of our history as a center of textiles.
On the other hand, many of the great community symbols have been intentional statements of goals, beliefs, and worthy aspirations. The Statue of Liberty, again, comes to mind. This intentionality often imbues these symbols with an added significance that can serve as a reminder of purpose for the entire community. The proposed Tree of Compassion sculpture certainly fits perfectly in the category of intentional statements.
The Tree of Compassion sculpture is a project that springs from the heartfelt desire to create a visible reminder of the crucial role that compassion should play in the everyday workings of our entire community. The placement of the sculpture in the Heritage Green area that houses a wonderful library, theatre, and museums is also a fitting setting for a project that serves to remind us of our highest and most powerful approach to human interaction.
Our community owes much of its success to its compassionate, wise, and enthusiastic embrace of people, businesses, food, technology, arts, and ideas from all over the globe.
Let’s work together to welcome a new visible symbol of human behavior at its best as a beautiful reminder for each of us: the tree of compassion.
— Jim Campbell
The Tree of Compassion sculpture is the vision of local Greenville resident, Gwen Rodrigo Goad. The sculpture represents compassion and acceptance, which reflects the spirit and the life of Gwen. We, like Gwen, believe this sculpture will enhance the quality of life in our community. Art is often considered to be the repository of a society's collective memory. The gift of art to the Greenville community will further perpetuate its strong sense of values and will translate each member's experience across space and time, further enhancing the lives of those who view it.
—Llyn and Sydney Strong
What the sculpture represents