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“Butterflies of Memory” will be the third largest public art piece made in NYC, sited on the Small Pox Hospital Ruins on Roosevelt Isl.

Drawing by Kathleen Griffin
Drawing by Kathleen Griffin

Butterflies of Memory” is a temporary public sculpture on the site of the collapsed Smallpox Hospital Ruins on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan. 

Seventeen giant gold butterflies, each thirteen feet in diameter, will fly between 18 and 36 feet above the Ruins, visually carrying off the building. Installed in the summer of 2013, "Butterflies of Memory" will be viewable from Roosevelt Island, the Midtown Waterfront and the FDR highway, thus bringing an image of inspiration and beauty to over 4 million New Yorkers.

The overall project will cost $1,000,000 to build, $265,000 of which has already been raised through private and public funding. The overall project cost of each butterfly is $100,000. For this campaign, a private donor has agreed to match each $50,000 raised by Kickstarter in order to both fund the project and purchase up to four butterflies to be permanently installed in the city – the first two on Roosevelt Island – when the project comes down. Therefore, your money not only goes to funding this project, but to buy permanent public art for the city. What an investment!  

Kathleen Griffin, the artist, with the wax pattern for the mold
Kathleen Griffin, the artist, with the wax pattern for the mold
The First Butterfly Coming Out of Mold, Waiting to Be Gold Leafed
The First Butterfly Coming Out of Mold, Waiting to Be Gold Leafed
The finished gold leafed butterfly!
The finished gold leafed butterfly!

Our goal is $50,000, but we would love to raise $200,000 to install up to four butterflies around the city. This campaign exists to share the overwhelming excitement surrounding this project with the general public and to allow everyone to be a part of making this happen, while making it possible to keep some of the butterflies permanently in New York.

Each individual butterfly sculpture is 13 feet in wing span and 4.5 feet tall, roughly based on the heliconius butterfly. They are made of steel and fiberglass and are gold leafed by a third generation russian gold leafer. The butterflies are structurally designed to withstand over 100 miles and hours winds.

For more pictures of the actual butterflies, visit our website.

Here's an image of the print you will receive for a $350 pledge:

Awesome print, yours for $350!
Awesome print, yours for $350!

And here's the 4x6 foot butterfly wing drawings that were displayed (with the artist!) at the Waldorf Astoria for Couture Fashion Week in September. Yours for a pledge of $10,000 or more.

Photo by Rose Billings, courtesy of Black Tie Magazine
Photo by Rose Billings, courtesy of Black Tie Magazine

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Our project has already been three years in the making. Over that time, our team of Architects, Structural Engineers, Riggers, Steel Fabricators and Fabricators has worked closely with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, to establish the highest levels of preservation and planning.

Our project principal, Maria Wilpon, was chosen for her success with the redesign of the Island's Tram as well as her general excellence and involvement in other projects on the Island. Our engineering firm, Weidlinger Associates, ranked as one of the top twelve engineering firms in NYC, was also the firm hired for the 2006 stabilization of the Small Pox hospital, so part of the sculpture support system will be left installed on the building, actually strengthening the structure.

Our Rigging Company is SkyScraper Steel Corp. known for being one of the best rigging companies in NYC. They will be responsible for the fabrication of the steel support structure that actually lifts the butterflies. Our Butterfly fabrication team is headed by Humankind Design, working with Ann Rothmann Structural Engineering. Humankind is known for an unparalleled level of craftsmanship and execution.

We have spent the last three years getting all aspects of this project lined up and into place. With Fabrication already begun, we are confident we will have no trouble in completing this project.

For more information on our team, visit http://butterfliesofmemory.com/team.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    17 backers

    Awesome butterfly sticker, a beautiful 4 by 4 vinyl sticker of a butterfly by the artist in either black or red, great for your bumper

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    29 backers Limited (971 left of 1000)

    A limited edition silk screen of a butterfly, drawn by the artist, signed and numbered. The print is 8" by 8"

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    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $35 or more
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    3 backers Limited (37 left of 40)

    Butterfly Sunrise Yoga-Sunrise Yoga will be two morning yoga classes, taught in the park, under the gleaming butterflies in the early on two Saturdays in July at 6:30 in the morning when the light is reflecting off of the water and the gold. The class will be taught by the artist's sister Mary. Mary wanted to do something to raise money for the project and has been a beloved Yoga instructor, teaching Bikram in the city for three years now. Teaching Yoga was Mary's dream so she would like to use that to help her sister Kathleen reach her own dream. This will be a beautiful and special Yoga Class and one of those NY experiences, that won't come along twice.

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    0 backers Limited (100 left of 100)

    Butterfly Picnic! There will be two butterfly picnics. These are designed for Children and there will be 50 people allowed to each one. Hosted by the artist and her Mom, we will serve cupcakes, there will be a related art project and game. Children will get to engage with the artist and project on site on a fun and accessible level. Both picnics will be scheduled on a Saturday this July. Patricia, the artist mother, throws an excellent party.

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    3 backers Limited (197 left of 200)

    An artist talk and site tour with Kathleen Griffin. There will be four of these during the projects duration. There will only be 50 spots available in each visit.

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    3 backers Limited (247 left of 250)

    Amazing artist drawing/prints. These are gorgeous limited edition drawing/prints where the artist individually draws in all the butterflies in pencil. Each print is 24" by 36". See image at bottom of page left. If you want this for the holidays, email us at butterfliesofmemory@gmail.com with your confirmation and we will send it by December 17, 2012, if you contact us by December 13

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    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $1,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    I will be offering ten of the actual project drawings to this campaign. Meticulously rendered, in pencil and gold leaf. Each drawing is 12" by 18"

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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    This is a very limited edition of drawing/prints a set of five 23 by 30 inch, pencil ink and gold leaf. Each set completes a piece of an exquisite panorama of different angles of the building surrounded by butterflies

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (6 left of 6)

    This is a full sized drawing of the full set of butterfly wings, there are going to be six of these drawings done in total, they are all completely different but similar to the set displayed at the Waldorf Astoria the piece is comprised of two 4 by 6 foot drawings and by far is the most spectacular best priced reward. It would look fantastic on any large wall or in any lobby. See image at bottom of page left..

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Funding period

- (60 days)