Eighty-five artists from around the world submitted proposals to design and construct the December 2 Memorial project.
The December 2 Memorial Committee invited artists, designers and architects locally and internationally to submit their ideas for the memorial outside the County Government Center in San Bernardino.
The proposals include submissions from Britain, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Spain, China, Korea, Singapore and Argentina as well as from across the United States and San Bernardino County. A mix of young artists and established artists, as well as landscape architects and designers were among those who applied to design the memorial.
Walter Hood wanted to design a memorial that recognized that violence has unfortunately become part of our cultural landscape and that there has been a tragic loss of life from these types of violent attacks from city to city. He was inspired by the outpouring of support for the survivors and the families of those taken from us who came together to support one another. Hood wanted to commemorate an event that was tragic, but on the other hand wanted to show the light of the community coming together.
The Memorial is a place for ritual and there are 14 alcoves where people can go and find a place of solace. Hood also recognized that County employees would pass the space every day on their way in and out of the building and he wanted something that was full of light and remembrance.
“On the one hand, we are making a public space, but we are also creating something highly personal,” he said.
World-renowned landscape architect and artist Walter Hood designed and constructed the December 2 Memorial to honor the 14 lives taken from us during the December 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, the survivors of the attack and the heroic actions of our first responders.
Hood presented the “Curtain of Courage” design to the Memorial Committee, which is a structure comprised of mesh panels that are cast with different color glass pieces. The panels simulate the curvature of a curtain and are situated around sitting areas to create a place of healing and reflection by evoking an image of a prism’s eternal sparkle.
Hood is the creative director of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, Calif. and is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He received the 2017 Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, the 2019 Knight Public Spaces Fellowship, and the 2019 MacArthur Fellowship. In April 2018, Hood gave a TED Talk on how urban spaces can preserve history and build community.
Over his long career, Hood has designed public arts projects across the country including The Broad Museum Plaza in downtown Los Angeles and Witness Walls in Nashville, Tennessee celebrating the city’s Civil Rights Movement. View more of Hood’s work.
Formation of the Memorial Committee
In February 2016, then-Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos appointed then-Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales to work with County staff on assembling a committee to help build a memorial. The Memorial Committee consisted of representatives from public safety, the departments of Behavioral Health, Public Health, Real Estate Services, the County Administrative Office and most importantly, representatives from the Environmental Health Services division and family members of our employees who were taken from us on that day.
The Committee reviewed several memorial projects including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Columbine Memorial, the Aurora Theater Shooting Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial. The Committee worked with consultants Elsa Cameron and Michael Lerner of Community Arts International (CAI), a nonprofit San Francisco-based organization that advises on public art projects around the world, to help select an artist.