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Standing tall and proud as one of the most polished and smoothly finished sculptural works in the Peace Garden, “Guns ‘N Roses” depicts a jovial, cartoonish figure grasping a gun in one hand and a bouquet of roses in the other while sitting atop a stylized, animalistic creature. Seated near the entrance, this statue acts as a beacon for one’s curiosity to be drawn to, delving into the historical inequality that Asheville’s community is built upon.  Reaching into many political and social issues, the sculpture initiates a sense of curiosity that should be carried with one throughout the garden.

Content compiled by Jesse Miller


An undercurrent of our society that is pervasive and largely ignored is the systemic oppression of minorities. This community garden serves as a safe place for individuals to educate themselves on which biases in our perspective have lead us to ignore such a monumental issue.

“As leaders for equity, our primary concern is to interrupt those rules that serve, either implicitly or explicitly, to perpetuate opportunity gaps for vulnerable students.” Applying a Racial Equity Frame

"Many view the sculpture as symbolic, leading police officers to be represented through the pig, the gun the 'farmer' is holding as violence and the roses as victims who have suffered from police brutality." Read more of McKenzie Hester's essay on Guns N Roses.

"Homosexual individuals fought back against corrupt police officers and harassment by mobster bar owners. Some might argue that this event marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States." Read more of Ujamaa Chabikuli's response to Guns N Roses.


“Urban renewal displaced and relocated the majority of the residents and businesses in these areas [East Riverside, Stumptown, Hill Street, East End, and Burton Street] effectively dismantling almost every African American community in Asheville.” Stephen Michael Nickollof


“Unfortunately, wealth in this country is unequally distributed by race - and particularly between white and black households… Less wealth translates into fewer opportunities for upward mobility.” Read more about Structural Racism and Systemic Inequality.

Wealth Disparity


Interviews conducted by Karen Vaneman to gather perspective on how Urban Renewal projects affected African American residents (2007 - 08).

"Houses did not have electricity, houses did not have any central heating components available; they did not have closets as you can see-he has put nails in the wall and hips clothing is hung up against the wall and on the back side of the door." Zani Davidson

“It’s sad to say but we have people in our own culture that, if you weren’t of fair complexion, then you were sort of pushed back." Willie Mae Brown

“...some of them, the older ones [homes], have been torn down, but it was like when you left Burton Street School by the time you came by that street there were people there who could watch you . . . That was the way the community had always been." Jean Boyd

“Nobody in the community new what urban renewal was, for very few had TVs and there was no time for local news and not many bought newspapers-they were a luxury."

“...forcing the low income, economically disadvantaged people out of corporate city limits because of city taxes and ability to purchase homes… And you’ve taken over with all of those condominiums and townhouses."

“Due to Urban Renewal, houses were taken by the city, then destroyed, leaving vacant land, for there was no real plan." Lawrence Gillian

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