The following individuals and groups were instrumental in presenting “Embracing Peace.”
The Offer: We thank two international organizations who make us a generous offer
The mission of the Spirit of ’45, under the direction of National Supervisor Warren Hegg is to preserve the legacy of the men and women of the Greatest Generation so that their example of personal courage, shared sacrifice, “can-do” attitude and service to community can inspire Americans to come together to meet historic challenges of our era. Warren recommended this installation to the Seward Johnson Atelier (see below), one of four worldwide, to promote The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial and support our $3,000,000 fundraising goal.
The mission of the The Seward Johnson Atelier, under the direction of Director and Curator Paula Stoeke, is to promote the appreciation of and education about sculpture and public art through the creation, maintenance, sales and public placement of Seward Johnson’s sculptures. The Seward Johnson Atelier shares the goal of promoting The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial.
The Approval: You can’t just show up one day with a 25’ sculpture
From day one, the single question everyone associated with the city of Royal Oak asked was “how do we make this happen?” Specifically, we are deeply indebted to the following individuals and organizations:
- Jim Ellison, Mayor
- Don Johnson, City Manager
- Greg Rassel, Director, Public Services
- The Royal Oak City Council
The Financial Support: Who’s going to pay for this?
Once we secured approval, we needed to secure the funds to pay the installation costs. We are forever grateful to Jack and Annette Aronson of Clean Planet Foods for their generous support of this project.
The Installation: Knock-Knock, Who’s there? A GIANT 25′ SCULPTURE, that’s who
With the funds were in hand, the sculpture was packed and sent on its journey from New Jersey. We had ten days to prepare. This never would have happened without the outstanding support of a broad and diverse team.
Judy Davids, Community Engagement Specialist for Royal Oak, has been a key supporter for many aspects of this installation. She drove the phenomenal media coverage which has been the catalyst of the incredible public awareness the display still enjoys. In terms of the installation, she helped organize the crane needed to lift Embracing Peace into place.
Shawn Ciavattone, District Director for State Senator Marty Knollenberg, could not do enough to help. Most critically, he jumped in to coordinate with MDOT to close the necessary lanes on Woodward Avenue during installation. He also arranged the state of Michigan’s Special Tribute that was read at the event celebrating 71st anniversary of the kiss by State Senator Marty Knollenberg.
We also thank Tom Pizola at MDOT and the Royal Oak Police Department for implementing the needed lane closures.
Of course, the Seward Johnson Atelier installation team drove the statue here and did the physical installation.
The Word: Now that it’s here we better make sure people know about it
Aside from the continual support of Judy Davids, we had help from Mark Newman, Oakland County Director of Public Services and Kristie Zamora, Oakland County Arts, Culture & Film Coordinator.
We also thank members of the Detroit media in print, on the air and via cyberspace for the expansive coverage of this entire project. Click here to see their outstanding work on the event celebrating the 71st anniversary of the kiss.
And a cast of thousands
Every event that features Embracing Peace was supported by dedicated individuals.
Tod Gazetti, Recreation Director, Royal Oak assisted with the Royal Oak Outdoor Art Fair.
At the event celebrating the 71st anniversary of the kiss, Herbert Morrison supplemented still photography. drone pilot Steve Carr provided aerial coverage and Oakland County’s Mark Newman arranged for bleachers.
Nic Kiselewski and Vivid Landscape Lighting have made it possible for the entire community to enjoy the sculpture at night.