2021 Middle School Exhibit

sadako and the thousand paper cranes

It takes patience, diligence, and strength to fold 1,000 paper cranes.
Origami is the art of folding paper. Originally from Japanese traditions for religious ceremonies, it became an artistic past-time (hobby) for many in Japanese culture as paper became less of a luxury and more commonplace.

In the story about the girl named Sadako, the origami cranes, in particular, have the significance of bringing health and long life. She sets out to create 1000 of them so that she might recover from her sudden and deadly sickness. Sadako is able to create the majority of the 1000 cranes, but finds that as her illness progresses, she becomes weaker and weaker. The 644 that she created had been carefully and lovingly hung from the hospital room ceiling by her brother. The first crane, which was a large gold one, was created by Sadako’s best friend, who is responsible for giving her the idea of creating the 1000 cranes for her to get better. The sad part of the story is that Sadako did not live long enough to finish the 1000 cranes, but her schoolmates determined to finish them for her after she had passed. In this way, Sadako, although not physically alive, continued to live in the hearts of others. Today there is a monument in her honor in the park of her hometown in Japan to commemorate all the “atom-bomb disease” victims.


A 6th Grade Reading Teacher, Sandy Campbell, at Dickinson Fine Arts Academy (DFAA) teamed up with the two Art Teachers (Lisa Kowalski and Laura Andujar) at DFAA to create the 1000 crane project that you see here. Mrs. Campbell had her students read the book Sadako and the Art Teachers taught how to fold the cranes. Many students completed more than 10 cranes each. The idea for the installation at the Colfax Center was also a team effort and thought to be the best way to display the overall message of hope, peace, and long life to our community. Just like Sadako, none of us knows how long we will live physically, but we can make choices today to influence lives in our community even after we have gone.