Group hangs thousands of paper cranes for peace

Posted at 5:04 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 18:04:50-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV)- This holiday, a group has come together to wish peace for Omaha and beyond.

It's called the Omaha Peace Project, and started when the Military Avenue Neighborhood Association commissioned artist Trudy Swanson to create a sculpture for the neighborhood, Swanson, who is of Japanese descent, proposed a steel origami crane sculpture with a community engagement component. The project was inspired by the origami crane, an international symbol of peace. It's based on the story of Sadako Sasaki and the Japanese legend, which says that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish.

"I wanted to unite residents from all over the city by helping them connect through art with a focus on peace," Swanson said.

This past summer, Swanson invited residents from across Omaha to fold paper cranes and share their wishes for peace on Facebook. Drop boxes were set up at the city's community centers, police department precincts, libraries and the Central Fire Station. The cranes were been collected and strung together for display at Ted & Wally's in the Old Market.

In addition, she's working on a steel crane sculpture, set to be completed in December. It will be installed at the intersection of Military Avenue, Fontenelle Boulevard and Northwest Radial Highway - one of the gateways to North Omaha.

Ted and Wally's also got involved in the project, asking Omahans to submit idea for "peace ice cream" to serve at the Old Market ice cream shop. They're also set to open a second location in Benson in early 2016.

"We believe in the power of public art, and we're excited to have a role in helping spread the Omaha Peace Project's message," said Joe Pittack, owner of Ted & Wally's.

The public can post their peace ice cream flavor suggestions at until Monday, Nov. 23. The Ted & Wally's team will review all the suggestions and make the final determination.

The art and the Omaha Peace Project was paid for in part by Omaha's 2015 Neighborhood Grants Program.