Through the Lens of The Five-Year-Old, Part 3: The Bunny at Oakdale Square

The Five-Year-Old takes her camera to the heart of Dedham's Bunny Kerfluffle: The Peace Bunny at Oakdale Square Common.

The third entry in The Five-Year-Old's ongoing Photo Documentary series about the Dedham Shines Public Art Project.

This week on Through the Lens, The Five-Year-Old visits the controversial Peace Bunny at Oakdale Square Common.

Oakdale Square is a meticulously landscaped common in Dedham, Massachusetts. Half of the common houses a beautifully maintained memorial dedicated to the memory of Dedham-area veterans who have served in wars around the world through the centuries.

Captains Oliver and Varnum Taylor, who fought in the 1786-7 Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts have a stone along the memorial's walkway, as do the Podolski brothers, who fought in WWII. They are joined by countless other Dedham residents who served our country in wars ranging from the Revolutionary War to the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Peace Rabbit sits in the other half of the common on an open lawn studded with trees. From a distance, the rabbit, designed by local artists Jill Barry and Mike Glowacki, himself a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Somalia, appears to be simply white, if a bit sparkly. As you approach it, you can see that it's covered with thousands of pieces of glass. According to Wicked Local, the grout used on the rabbit glows in the dark, a fact that The Five-Year-Old is very anxious to verify for her readers. Bedtime being what it is, however, that verification will have to wait until winter, when sunset will once again precede pajama time.

Because Barry and Glowacki dedicated the rabbit to the men and women of the town of Dedham who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces of the United States the organizers of the Dedham Shines project felt it was most fitting to locate the Peace Bunny on the Oakdale Square Common. After consultation with the Dedham Board of Selectmen, the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Oakdale Square Alliance (the group responsible for developing and maintaining the memorial), Dedham Shines decided to install the Peace Bunny on the portion of the common used by the town for other non-veteran-specific community events, such as the annual tree lighting ceremony and the summer Superhero Night.

Unfortunately, many veterans living in Dedham consider the veterans' memorial at Oakdale Square to be sacred ground on which a bunny has no place, even if that bunny was designed by an Oakdale veteran in honor of another Oakdale veteran.

Being neither veterans nor residents of Dedham, The Five-Year-Old and I do not feel qualified to comment on this controversy. We are going to stick to the much more fun task of bringing you the rabbit as The Five-Year-Old sees it.

All of the bunnies are worth seeing in person, but the subtle beauty of this particular bunny simply can't be captured on a five-year-old's camera (or sadly, on that of her mother). If you are in Dedham this summer, I encourage you to see the Peace bunny for yourself. But you'll have to hurry. I hear the bunny's lease is up in September.

Tune in next week, when The Five-Year-Old visits Bunny in the Clouds at Petruzziello Plaza.

Related Links:

Although Caterpickles only appears once a week on the Patch, there's something new going on most days of the week at Caterpickles Central (caterpickles.com). C'mon over. This week we're talking about friendship, paleontology and other top preschool concerns.

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John Harris July 05, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Oakdale Square is community property, not sacred ground. Residents are entitiled to their opinions but we live in a country where freedom of expression on a public common is allowed, including those Christmas trees and Superhero displays. The way I see it, this is what soldiers protect: our right to free expression and assembly. Yet, this presents as a problem because citizens continue to believe that censorship brings safety when it really brings tyranny. Let the veterans have their piece of land but let all citizens have their Common. Long live the Bunny and free artistic expression!
Stephanie Radner July 08, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Thank you, Five-Year-Old, for your great perspective! Just to clarify, the Oakdale Square Alliance is a community group that was formed about two years ago to help promote a vibrant community in the Oakdale Square neighborhood. This group was not involved in the installation of the monument, but we have been active in maintaining the Oakdale Common at our spring and fall cleanup events. There was a separate committee, I believe referred to as the Oakdale Monument Committee, that worked to raise the money and install the Veteran's monument in the Oakdale Common. Representatives from the Dedham Public Art Project and the Oakdale Square Alliance, along with both artists, met with two members of the Oakdale Monument Committee prior to seeking approval from the Parks and Recreation Committee to place the rabbit in the Oakdale Common.


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