DMACC Ankeny unveils ‘Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community’

Artwork commemorates some 7,445 Iowans who so far died of COVID-19

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Artist Pam Douglas, right, poses with the family of Renee Murphy, from left, Aimee Graham Trent Murphy and Heather Murphy at the unveiling of the "Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community" exhibition. Photo courtesy DMACC

“Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community” is on exhibit on the DMACC Ankeny Campus in dedication to the lives and memories of the more than 7,445 Iowans who have died of COVID-19.

ANKENY, Iowa — Iowa Artist Pam Douglas unveiled Monday an artwork, called “Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community,” on the DMACC Ankeny Campus in an exhibition that is dedicated to the lives and memories of the more than 7,445 Iowans who have died of COVID-19.

In her work, Douglas folded colorful paper into cranes, each one representing an Iowan who has died of COVID-19.  Where names were known, they were handwritten on the cranes.

“Folding Cranes, Enfolding Community” is on display in the Student Center in Building 5 on the DMACC Ankeny Campus and will remain on display through the spring term. The show is free and open to the public, with DMACC hosting an artist talk and various events surrounding the traveling art exhibit during the period.

Joining Douglas at the unveiling Monday was the family of Renee Murphy of Ankeny, who died Oct. 22, 2021. Renee’s husband, Trent Murphy, and her daughters, Aimee and Heather, were presented with memorial cranes. Trent was elected to the Ankeny School Board in November, completing the campaign that Renee began.

A crane with Renee’s name hangs from the ceiling among thousands of others. Douglas said she will continue to fold cranes and add them to the memorial for any additional COVID-19 deaths of Iowans. She said these are deaths were not just a statistic — they were people who loved and were loved.

Douglas said chose the crane for her artwork because the bird, with its broad wingspan, carries significant symbolism in many cultures. A victim of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 began a tradition of paper crane folding to encourage healing and hope.

Dan Ivis is the media liaison with DMACC marketing and public relations.

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