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U Global Art Project

1,000 origami paper cranes hang from the ceiling of the Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building signifying hope for peace, health and happiness.

The College of Social Work installed a beautiful collection of 1,000 origami paper cranes in the Otto and Amy Jones Student Lounge in the Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building.  The permanent instillation is not only visually brilliant, but it also has a great story.

Over the past 15 months, students (undergrad and grad), faculty, staff, alumni, donors, foreign colleagues, exchange students, guest speakers and friends from around the world folded the paper cranes and signed them with their names, the year and a wish for peace, health or happiness.  The mastermind behind the project, Irene Ota, coordinator for College of Social Work diversity, explains that in Japanese tradition 1,000 cranes are folded to honor a marriage. But after the World War II bombing of Hiroshima, the paper cranes took on a new meaning: hope for peace and health.

Ota and the College of Social Work felt the themes of peace, health and happiness were appropriate and powerful affirmations for the local and global community of social workers and allied colleagues, and they are delighted to add this meaningful piece of work to the building.The small silver charms at the bottom of each strand indicates hope for the virtues of kindness, balance, wisdom, courage, honesty, strength and more.

By having so many people sign the origami cranes, the building has a lovely representation and permanent presence the community at the University of Utah.