In the November issue, TulsaPeople asked, "Where is it?" in reference to a collection of photos featuring a pile of colorful spheres.
Vicki Manley was the first to correctly identify Tulsa’s own World Peace Monument located outside the Great American Flea Market on East Admiral Place.
But who created it?
He’s been called the Big Lebowski of World Peace.
For Richard Branaman, constructing a monument to world peace out of bowling balls seemed to be a logical choice.
A few months after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as he was driving down a stretch of Tulsa highway, Branaman noticed a monument dedicated to the victims of that tragic day.
He says he realized that monuments seemed to only be erected when a disaster struck, never to commemorate happy moments. That’s when the idea occurred to him — build a 77-foot-tall tower in the Admiral traffic circle topped with a 21-foot-tall pyramid made of bowling balls to remind people to hope for a peaceful world.
He wanted to build "something that I think is really beautiful out of something that would otherwise be thrown away," Branaman says.
He has collected about 1,500 bowling balls, but it will take a total of 8,436 for the tower topper.
Branaman collects balls through donations and at flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales.
Still in the fundraising, material-collection and planning phase, Branaman is seeking the help of an architect and project planner.
When TulsaPeople called Branaman to ask him about his monument, he sadly reported that it was damaged when a car hit the surrounding fence. Plans to rebuild are under way, he says.
Visitors can see a smaller pyramid of bowling balls Branaman has constructed inside the flea market, where he often receives bowling ball and monetary donations. Donations can also be made via an aluminum can drive set up in a truck next to the outdoor monument.
Over the years, Branaman says he’s received many bowling balls that belonged to someone’s family member who no longer plays or who has passed away and the ball was donated to him so that the person could be a part of something "bigger."
"All of them have a story," he says.
To help Branaman in his creation of the World Peace Monument, call 918-282-5405.