Media Advisory: Last Chance to Experience 'Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community' Exhibit in Central Iowa

Posted 8/17/2022
Cranes Display

​​COVID Memorial Artist Pam Douglas' Commemorative Display Will Migrate from DMACC to Dubuque on Aug. 22


Since Autumn 2020, thousands pf people have viewed the “Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community” Exhibit that commemorates the lives of Iowans who've died from COVID-19. It's traveled from locations in West Des Moines and Ames, and arrived at the DMACC Campus in Ankeny​ on Dec. 13, 2021. Many have attended DMACC-sponsored activities to honor these Iowans in conjunction with the exhibit.

“The Iowa COVID crane memorial is an immensely meaningful and creative tribute to the value of each life lost in this worldwide pandemic," said DMACC President Rob Denson. “Our DMACC community has personally experienced COVID losses, with many unable to be with their loved ones when they passed. We are grateful for the opportunity to share the crane memorial here on campus, as a place of reflection and hope."

The artwork, comprising more than 9,334 individual cranes hanging on filament, will require extreme care in dismantling and packaging when it comes down on Mon., Aug. 22, on the DMACC campus. It will travel across the state to LORAS College in Dubuque, where it will be reconstructed in the campus library. When the crane memorial was set up at DMACC, it took five SUVs to transport the specially designed boxes, which keep the cranes from tangling. It will require a caravan of sorts to travel to LORAS, as well.​

When the exhibit was first installed at DMACC, it highlighted 8,040 deaths and filled the windows on one wall of Trail Point Aquatics & Wellness at the College’s Ankeny Campus, along with 36 mobiles hanging from the ceiling. In the following eight months, artist Pam Douglas hand-folded another 1,735 cranes, configuring many of them as spinning mobiles in memory of Iowa's additional COVID deaths. The total number of Iowa COVID deaths continues to grow. To date, the number is 9,817.


The exhibit incorporates a variety of colorful folded papers, with each handmade crane honoring the memory of an Iowan who died from the disease. When possible, the cranes include the handwritten name of Iowans lost to the virus. Artist Pam Douglas began folding cranes when much of the state was in lockdown, starting in early 2020. She continues to fold cranes as loving works of art as part of the Iowa COVID memorial. 

“This project continues to expand," Douglas said. "There are still many Iowans who will benefit from the hope and healing with their communities' commemorative​ events surrounding this display."

Douglas said she would like to convey that these Iowa deaths were not just a statistic — they were people who loved and were loved. Douglas chose the crane for her artwork because the bird, with its broad wingspan, carries significant symbolism in many cultures. Douglas will continue to fold cranes and add them to the memorial for additional COVID deaths among Iowans.


Exhibit is open at the DMACC Ankeny Campus, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, through Sun., Aug. 21, 2022


Trail Point Aquatics & Wellness (Bldg. #5) on the DMACC Ankeny Campus, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny


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