About the Peace Crane

As we create Alaska’s first public Japanese Garden, we also launched The Peace Crane project, a series of art-based, community-involvement, multi-media workshops for 40 classrooms in six local schools and the general public located within the Kenai Peninsula. These created dialog around the themes of respect and resiliency. A primary focus was for participants to help create a six-foot community “Peace Crane” sculpture in clay. This sculpture was then cast in bronze and will be installed within the garden. The sandhill crane sculpture’s wings will be raised and folded forward, as if just landing, and within the wings will be large, interactive xylophone chimes.

The idea for our garden derived from a gift of rare, non-contaminated seeds harvested from trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Against the odds, one gingko seed and three hackberry seeds sprouted into saplings. In order to best exhibit these trees, the idea of a garden with a peace crane theme was derived.

Community participants who actively assisted in creating this sculpture rotated through art projects centered around the symbolism of the surviving seeds, and of both local and Japanese cranes. They explored and highlighted Alaskans’ stories of resiliency, as well as the value of respecting diversity.

The Peace Crane Sculpture will be completed by October 10th, 2020, and installed into the garden space following trail surfacing in Summer 2021, and which time a grand opening of the garden trail space will occur.

Along with community workshops at two libraries, we had forty classes in Kenai, Soldotna, and Sterling help co-sculpt the Peace Crane statue!

Students also sculpted their own art pieces, wrote haiku and cinquain poems, and set their poetry to musical compositions on the xylophone chimes. One of these poems is displayed between the wings of this sculpture. The harmonious chimes, seen in pictures below, will be incorporated into the Peace Crane statue’s wings. In total, we had about a thousand participants in this community-building project.

Pictured below: Classes put on by sculptor Christina Demetro when co-sculpting the Peace Crane within our community.

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