The Wilma Theater is seeking paper cranes for special installation at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Photo by Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission

The Wilma Theater’s Portable Studio is seeking the public’s assistance in creating a large-scale public art installation, “1,000 Cranes For Philly,” which will be safely installed using appropriate social distancing measures at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Community members are invited to submit their own paper cranes by August 17, 2020, which will then be integrated into the installation, created by Wilma Teaching Artist Ezra J. Ali-Dow. “1,000 Cranes for Philly” is a joint project between The Wilma, Asian Arts Initiative, Sunday Breakfast Mission, and Broad Street Ministry.

“My inspiration for this came from the spirit of Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission,” said Ali-Dow. “I really wanted to create something that captures the energy of looking up and it is important that this artwork is also realized by the caring hands of many, since it is through working together we can best achieve our dreams and wishes.  I hope that these cranes, suspended in the air, signify the various altitudes that we all soar at. We are all at different stages of our lives, in different comfort zones, but our togetherness gives us the courage to defy the odds of gravity.”

Phase 1 of this project began in collaboration with Asian Arts Initiative and Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to engage guests at the mission in the activity of creating cranes.  Together, along with Wilma Portal Studio participants and their colleagues, they created nearly 500 cranes.

“We believe in the power of community at the Mission so when the Asian Arts Initiative approached us with this idea, we thought it was a wonderful opportunity to involve our guests to create something beautiful,” said Elizabeth Hefner, Sunday Breakfast’s Director of Advancement and on-site 1,000 Paper Crane Project Coordinator.  “When the whole world is going through such a challenging time, we believe in the power of finding hope and these cranes are a visual representation of that.”

Now, The Wilma invites the public to take part in the Japanese tradition of folding cranes. Cranes are a symbol of peace and well-being, as well as hope and healing during challenging times. It is said that folding 1,000 cranes will make one special wish come true.  Also, there is no wrong way to make a crane!    Detailed instructions for making a paper crane can be found here:


Those interested in submitting a paper crane must mail their completed project by August 17 in order to ensure that their work is part of the installation. Cranes can be mailed to: SUNDAY BREAKFAST RESCUE MISSION, ATTN: Liz Hefner, 302 N 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

About the Wilma Portable Studio: The Wilma Theater’s Portable Studio offers free and fun workshops for adults who want to meet new people, practice expressing themselves, and inspire each other by seeing a show and creating theater together. Our current purpose is to keep the Wilma Theater and Philadelphia connected,  re-imagining how we “connect” through the Virtual Studio. More at

About Asian Arts Initiative: Connecting cultural expression and social change, Asian Arts Initiative uses art as a vehicle to explore the diverse experiences of all communities which include Asian Americans.  Located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North, Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Here, all of us can view and create art that reflects our lives, and think critically, creatively about the future we want to build for our communities. More at

About Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission: Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission serves those experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.  The Mission is the only provider of three meals a day, 365 days of the year to anyone in need.  The Mission offers an array of homeless day services and clinics to men and women.  Additionally, the Mission has a 30- day men’s emergency shelter and offers a 12 month transitional housing program to men.  The Mission relies on the generous contributions of caring individuals, families, churches and businesses.  More at

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