The Dance Palace is proud to be the permanent home for the Jonathan Rowe zocalo memorial bench. The bench, which was sculpted by Rufus Blunk in 2011, exists to memorialize and honor the work of Jonathan Rowe, an accomplished author and champion of the commons in West Marin and beyond. For Rowe, the word “commons” described more than public parks and buildings, it referred to anything and everything that is shared by members of a community. It could be anything from land to a work of literature whose copyright expired to a shared coffeepot in an office kitchen. The “commons” is more of an idea than a tangible thing.
Rowe helped bring that idea to life in West Marin by co-founding the West Marin Commons in 2006. The purpose of the Commons, as Rowe and his colleagues built it, is to “create common spaces for spontaneous sociability and community activities; to cultivate native plants in a way that reinforces the symbiosis between inhabitants and habitat; and to establish social infrastructure for the sharing of rides, garden produce, tools and household stuff.” Rowe and the other members of the Commons carved out a number of spaces all over town for the people of West Marin to gather and come together as a community.
When West Marin Common’s lease on the town commons and the little yellow house was terminated in 2017, the Dance Palace was honored accept the Jonathan Rowe memorial bench and give it a permanent home on our front lawn. We believe the Dance Palace serves as a commons for the community, a space for “spontaneous sociability and community activities.” And we are proud to house a piece of Jonathan Rowe’s legacy here on our grounds.