Paper crane project brings attention to racial injustice


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The New Jersey Young Artists Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of artists in New Jersey. Its goals are to teach and help young artists realize their full potential and to appreciate the world around them and to encourage young artists to utilize their creativity, talents, and passion for art to give back to the community.

In light of racial injustice, the members of NJYAA have created its most recent project: “A Wish Upon 1000 Cranes: A Tribute for Racial Justice.” The finished project is a sculpture of a willow tree with strings of cranes hanging from the branches. In Japanese culture, the crane represents hope and healing during challenging times. The local community collectively folded more than 1,000 origami cranes (senbazuru) to fulfill the members’ wish of racial equality and help victims of racial injustice to heal, according to a statement prepared by NJYAA.

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The willow tree, which was constructed from many individual wires twisted together, represents learning, growth and harmony, according to the statement. The linked wires make the tree stronger and sturdier; likewise, residents strengthen the connections within the community by unifying different racial and religious groups, according to the statement.

At the base of this tree are large, aged rocks made of newspaper. The rocks symbolize how the racial justice movement is deep-rooted and not simply a contemporary issue, while the newspaper reinforces this idea as it is a physical embodiment of history, according to the statement.

Through this component, artists remind the audience of this movement’s history and of all the people who have made sacrifices for it, not only the ones made aware of today due to the media, but also those who have passed away quietly without justice, with no press coverage and no social media exposure, according to the statement.

With this memorial project, the NJYAA members aspire to bring the community together and send a message of hope and healing to all during this time of immense social turmoil, according to the statement. However, the message of “healing” does not mean forgetting or being complacent with the current situation. True healing will only come by first reaching a common understanding of the racial injustice in society that has claimed the lives of countless victims, and then uniting together to fix the flaws in the system that has resulted in these normalized social wrongs, according to the statement.

The exhibition is indoors at Art Studio 23, 1143 Route 601, Suite B, Skillman.

The gallery will be open from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 16, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 17, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 23, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 24, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 25, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 31, and noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 1.

Entry is free.

Pre-scheduling is not required bit there is a maximum capacity of five people at once. Masks are required.


For more information, visit

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