Aurora now has a monument to the lives lost in the 2012 Aurora Theater Shooting. “Ascentiate” is a sculpture of 83 large metal birds dedicated to both the victims and the survivors.
“Every week, at least, I come out here,” Dearman says of the Aurora city garden where the sculpture is, about a five-minute drive from the Century 16 Theater.
It’s a memorial that Dearman, the vice chair of the 7/20 Memorial Foundation, has dreamed about for a while.
“I still get the chills every time I even come near it,” Dearman said. “It’s so beautiful.”
One of her favorite spots to look at the memorial is from one particular boulder. A dozen boulders that now surround the memorial were dedicated a year ago to each family that lost a loved one. Dearman’s cousin, Ashley Moser, lost her six-year-old daughter and unborn child that night. Moser’s gunshot wound also left her paralyzed.
The foundation wanted a memorial that wasn’t a political statement. One that, instead, focused on “nature, transformation and symbols of hope,” Dearman told Colorado Matters in 2017.
The foundation selected Kentucky sculptor Douwe Blumberg to design it. During a recent site visit, Blumberg spoke with survivors, families and first responders.
“I very much wanted the people I met and the stories I heard to inform the creative process,” Blumberg said — he wanted to create a work that has “a message of lightness coming out of darkness.”
Seventy white cranes represent those injured. They fly towards each other and then connect with 13 silver cranes with frosted wings that fly up toward the sky. These 13 symbolize the lives lost.
Sealed in the bellies of each crane are canisters of notes from the community. It’s comforting for Dearman knowing these letters are there. She hopes the memorial is comforting for others too, even those “who don’t know our story.”
“It’s just so uplifting because of the way [the cranes] all collectively, from different places, come together, and then go towards the middle and rise up,” Dearman said. “I think it’s a positive message and a healing message.”
A memorial dedication ceremony will be held July 27, 2018.