Temporary 'Temple of Time' seeks to burn away Parkland's grief

Art installation will collect messages from survivors, then will be set ablaze

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Alania Alfaro and Ashley Baez came to leave their thoughts and prayers in the "Temple of Time" -- a new art installation intended to help the Parkland community heal after last year’s mass shooting.

Alania wrote a note in memory of her late friend, Gina Montalto, one of the 17 people killed in the massacre.

"I wrote Gina, ‘I miss you’ and a little symbol me and the team had for her," Alfaro said.

Baez, a junior, was shot in the leg during the attack and has been involved in the activism that followed. She is still healing emotionally.

"There is so much happening that I have had to push for, that I haven’t had time to grieve," Baez said.

Both came to experience the Temple of Time. The ornate, wooden temple was created by renowned artist David Best and his volunteer team in Coral Springs.

The ornate building resembles Buddhist temples in the Far East. Best wants it to attract the grieving and bring them peace.

"Beautiful enough to bring them in. Strong enough to handle them once they get in," Best said.

A native of California, Best was inspired by the Burning Man music festival and has been creating these temporary installations since 2000. Other temples honored victims of suicide and people who were killed during the strife in Northern Ireland.

On the pillars, visitors can leave their thoughts and prayers. Three months from now, it will be burned.

The artist hopes their sorrows will go up with the smoke.

“Some of these children, some of these people were so beautiful. They were only here for a short time. This is only here for a short time. I don’t want the parents that lost their kids to have to come and see this thing here for 10 years. I want them to go on with their own life," Best said.

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