A work of art went up in flames in Coral Springs, Florida, over the weekend—but the blaze was intentional. David Best, an artist known for making temples to honor the dead at Burning Man, set fire to his sculpture, titled Temple of Times, to pay tribute to the 17 people killed in the 2018 shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Best erected the 35-foot-tall ornately carved, non-sectarian plywood structure over the course of two weeks in February with with local residents affected by the shooting, turning the process into a kind of communal art therapy.
“There’s no way in hell we’re going to heal a murdered child,” Best told the Miami New Times. He says he named the work Temple of Time because only time would heal such grief.
Family members of three of the victims, including star swimmer Nicholas Dworet, school athletic director Chris Hixon, and marching band member Gina Montalto, lit the sculpture on fire Sunday to commence the ceremonial burn.
The project was organized by the Coral Springs Museum of Art using a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge. Temple of Time is one of five large-scale art installations coming to Parkland and Coral Springs over the next two years as part of the museum’s art therapy program.