Douwe Blumberg's design for the Aurora theater shooting memorial.

(Courtesy Douwe Blumberg)

How does a community heal after a tragic event? That’s a question Aurora has asked itself for five years since a gunman killed a dozen people and injured many others in a movie theater on July 20, 2012.

On Saturday, before a crowd gathered near the Aurora Municipal Center, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said that night does not define Aurora.

"But what it did do more than anything else was define, for those of us who are in the city of Aurora, a responsibility to not only never forget, but a responsibility to identify a place, a safe place, where anyone who wished to spend some time there could do so," he said.

Mayor Hogan announced that Kentucky-based artist Douwe Blumberg would design and build such a space, a memorial to those who died and were wounded that night.  

The memorial will be at an approximately 2,500-square-foot area at the east end of a garden by the Aurora Municipal Center, which is close to the Century 16, where the shooting occurred.

Kentucky artist Douwe Blumberg at Aurora's Reflection Garden on Aug. 26, 2017.

(Stephanie Wolf/CPR News)

Blumberg designed a sculpture of 83 four-and-a-half-foot metal cranes, the birds flying towards each other and then sweeping together up towards the sky. He said it will represent healing.

“I didn’t want to create something that focused on that night and what happened that night," the artist said. "I want this to focus on what’s happened since.”

Blumberg was one of four artists being considered to design the memorial. The nonprofit 7/20 Memorial Foundation has raised more than $260,000 for the artwork, and raised an additional $3,600 from a 5K race last Saturday.

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