Iowa COVID Memorial lands at NIACC

(ABC 6 News) – Over 10,000 colorful origami paper cranes, each representing an Iowan who lost their life to COVID-19, are currently being displayed in the North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Activity Center.

Iowa Artist, Pamela Douglas, folded each paper crane one by one, as the pandemic evolved over a period of 3 years. The memorial includes over 80 12-foot strands of 5-inch paper cranes.  

The crane was chosen for this memorial to incorporate the globally recognized tradition of paper crane folding as an act of love to encourage healing and hope. According to Douglas, the beauty of the collection of cranes and the memorial’s sheer size seems to have a “loving” effect both in visitors’ grieving and in honoring the victims of COVID-19. 

NIACC President, Dr. Steve Schulz, says the art conveys a very important message. “I am excited to welcome the exhibit to our campus as it represents not only the stories of loss and hardship endured during the pandemic but also the unwavering determination and hope that have propelled us forward.” 

Schulz continued, “This display is a symbol of remembrance, healing, and unity, reminding us of our collective ability to overcome adversity and emerge stronger together. I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to share it with our students, staff, faculty, and the community.”   

The exhibit has already made stops in Des Moines, Reiman Gardens in Ames, Waukee, Des Moines Area Community College’s Ankeny campus and Loras College in Dubuque.

The COVID Memorial is expected to be on display at NIACC until the end of the year.  The public is welcome to come see the cranes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

In 2024, the cranes will head to Western Iowa Tech College in Sioux City.

According to John Hopkins University of Medicine, there have been 10,725 deaths related to COVID-19 in Iowa.