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Public Art

Ralph L. Carr Justice Center, Denver, Colorado • 2012

Tsuru takes its inspiration from the crane, an ancient symbol of justice, peace, independence, and wisdom in many cultures. Sandhill cranes still play a role in the local ecosystem, migrating annually through the Denver environs; many eagerly anticipate their seasonal arrival. The crane also embodies the independence and moral courage of Ralph Carr in resisting the internment of the Japanese during World War II.  The cast bronze sculpture depicts a crane in flight, wings outstretched in a delicate state of balance, the stance echoing our quest for balance and equilibrium in the pursuit of justice.  Finally, the Whooping Crane, the only other crane in North America, is an endangered species, protected by the laws of the land. In this way, the artwork embodies the vital role that the legal system plays in protecting not only our citizens but the fragile ecosystems of earth.

Tsuru is sited on a rise of native Bluestem grasses, and reaches a total height of 9’. The sculpture is framed by a circle of granite stone elements radiating in a 4’ wide ring around the piece. We reclaimed the granite to make this feature from the Justice Center Building that was demolished to make way for the new building. We flanked the sculpture with a series of four elegant sculptural granite benches, also cut from the repurposed granite, laminated to form a solid mass of stone. These curved seating elements echo the abstract form of a crane with wings outstretched.

Commissioned by: Colorado Creative Industries  • Installation: Deimurge LLC  • Bronze: Artworks Foundry • Collaborated with Civitas Landscape Design, Mortenson Construction & Fentress Architects

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