Bishop Kenny Peace Park to be dedicated Friday

Aaron Elmore adjusts a sign at the Bishop Kenny Memorial Peace Park on the corner of Third and Seward Streets downtown. Elmore designed the signs using colors from sketches of Jim Fowler's "Growing Peace" sculpture that will be installed at the park sometime this spring.

The dedication for the Bishop Michael H. Kenny Memorial Peace Park will take place Friday afternoon at the park, followed by a reception at the Silverbow Bakery.

The park, located at the corner of Third and Seward Streets, has been known as the Bishop Michael H. Kenny Memorial Peace Park since 2009, following a recommendation put forth by Veterans for Peace in April 2009. In their request to the Assembly, Veterans for Peace wrote “We believe that Bishop Kenny’s love of humanity and community, and his unstinting dedication to peace and reconciliation should be recognized and honored in our Capital City.”

The resolution formally naming the park, as the Veterans for Peace recommended, was approved by the assembly a few months later. Friday’s ceremony will mark the site’s formal dedication and the installation of signage created by Aaron Elmore. A public art piece, designed by local artist Jim Fowler, will be installed next spring.

The dedication ceremony will include remarks by Bishop Burns, Brent Fischer, director of CBJ Parks and Recreation, and other city officials, as well as bagpipe music and a performance by the Alaska Youth Choir,

Following the dedication, a reception at the Silverbow will include sketches of Fowler’s plans for the sculpture, called “Growing Peace.” Fowler said it will most likely be crafted of aluminum. He describes his design as “childlike and playful.”

In designing the signage for the park, Aaron Elmore used the colors Fowler indicated in his sketches.

Phil Smith, of Veterans for Peace said the sculpture and signage in the park will “certainly brighten up that corner of downtown.”

Friday was selected as the dedication day because it is the International Day of Peace, observed annually around the world.

Bishop Kenny was well-known for his peace activism, as well as for his support for the arts and dedication to his diocese, which covered all of Southeast, from Yakutat to Metlakata. Bishop Kenny served as bishop from 1979 until 1995, when he died of an aneurysm at the age of 57.

For more on the park, visit facebook.com/bishopkennypeacepark.

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