December 1, 2021

Art installation on Homer Green to say ‘thank you’ during pandemic

S.N. Briere/ staff reporter

Elizabeth Sharp fixes a crane she has hanging from deer netting in her backyard Wednesday. Sharp is working on an art installation of paper cranes and doves to hang at the Homer Village Green as a thank you to first responders, healthcare workers and others who have helped during the pandemic keep communities going.

Elizabeth Sharp squatted near the golden foil crane, fixing it as it hung in the cold winter breeze from a string tied to deer netting.

“I have folded cranes for many, many years,” Sharp said, reminiscing on the years she lived in Japan. Making paper cranes was a tradition in Japan, meant to symbolize someone’s hopes or wishes. Now she wants to use that tradition to express hope and say thank you to first responders, health care workers, teachers and many others who have been working tirelessly during the pandemic to take care of others.

She’ll also be including the dove often a symbol of peace.

Sharp and others are on a mission to make an art installation of paper cranes and doves on the Homer Village Green.

It’s an idea Sharp, who is an artist, got from a 2,000-paper dove installation in December at the Washington National Cathedral. Sharp said she has called a number of businesses and religious organizations to be a part of the project.

“So far they’ve all said, ‘Wow, we want to be involved,’” she said.

She hopes to get more people involved.

“This isn’t just confined to Homer,” she said. “Everybody in the community is welcomed to be a part of it.”

Brookley Abbate, an art teacher at Homer High School, stopped by Sharp’s house recently and saw how well the little installation was handling the tough Central New York weather.

“It’s amazing,” Abbate said.

Abbate plans to get her art students involved in the project and is asking other teachers in the district to do the same. She’s also reached out to some teachers at the Cortland Enlarged City School District.

“I think students will be excited to see something like this in our community,” she said.

Sharp said a steering committee is planning everything, and hope to have the installation up in April. She said anyone can make paper cranes or doves by watching Youtube videos to see how it’s done. They can reach out to her about how to make them and the best paper to use that will withstand the weather.

Although not fully ready, the Homer for the Center for the Arts will be a drop-off site for people who have made paper cranes or doves and people will eventually be able to pick up kits of paper to make them as well, Sharp said.

Laurel Harte-Westover, the executive director of the Council of Churches in Cortland County and part of the Interfaith Association, said she’s excited to be on the steering committee and find any way to help with the project.

“I think it gives people a tangible, positive way to express themselves in these times,” she said.