Before the arrival of Coronavirus, we had embarked on a memorial statue for our founder, Dr. Arthur Kruckeberg. Our motivation was to create a lasting moment in the garden but to also recognize that this would have been his 100th birthday this last March 21st. After a generous outpouring of donations towards the effort, the pandemic brought all our movement to a stop. As with all things in 2020, plans and expectations have shifted daily for months. Originally in June, we favored a family dedication along with our donors, here in the garden. As we kept moving the date further and further, it became clear that travel any time this year was too risky. We are so very happy to announce that we have succeeded in getting the memorial installed. This last Saturday, in the drizzle of the morning, a few of us gathered to witness the installation of, The Conversation, by Tony Angell.

I asked Tony to talk about his history with Dr. Kruckeberg and his perspective on this piece he has created. The following are his words:


My association/friendship with Art goes back to the days I was in grad school at the University of  Washington.  I met Art through my work with Dr. Frank Richardson, curator of birds at the Burke Museum.  Frank was an exceptional influence on my work and career and Art likewise took a great interest in both my wiring and artwork.  Such support was key to my commitment and explorations in natural history and art.  It was indeed a delight for me to have the opportunity to include some of my illustration work in the work Art published on Puget Sound.

The Work:

The Conversation depicts a northern raven, the largest member of the family of birds that includes jays, crows, and magpies.  Throughout the northern hemispheres, it is a renowned species both for its sagacious manner and mythic histories.  The First Nation people of the Pacific Northwest in particular associate this bird with their creation myths and celebrate its form and feats in their superb artwork.  The Haida people, in particular, were close associates of this bird and interpreted its calls for information on, among other things, approaching weather, the arrival of visitors, and the presence of game.

Eric Swenson (left) Tony Angell (right)

This piece is intended to welcome visitors to the Garden by encouraging dialogue with nature in this remarkable setting.  In such a conversation with one’s self or others, we can inquire about the presence and appearance of the plant life, its beauty, location, and association with other species.  We can watch and listen for the significant engagement of the animal species that are dependent on this garden be they an insect, reptile, bird, or mammal.

The Garden is dynamic.  It is an oasis of diversity that provides richness and vitality to the community that surrounds it.  A conversation with it reveals the fullness of its importance in our lives be it the aesthetic and emotional pleasures we derive from its beauty or the contributions it provides to the stability of a healthy and balanced environment.

Thank you, Tony.


On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Kruckeberg Staff, we would like to thank our donors:

Ted Andrews,  Arle Kruckeberg, Enid Kriewald, Patricia Canning, Janet Standridge, Rowland Adenyi, Drs. Glen and Rhoda Love, Eric Swenson, Paul and Claire Grace, Richard Olmstead, Sue Nevler, Patrick and Susan Dunn, Roger del Moral, Toby Bradshaw, Al and Gretchen Brookes, Chuff and Carolyn Barden, Fred and Olga Hauptman, Victoria Jones, Marillyn Largy, and Frank and Julidta Tarver.

The Conversation can be viewed in the upper garden just past the greenhouse. Beginning August 21st, the garden will be open to visitors Friday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

The Conversation was cast in 2018 and finished in 2019.  It is cast bronze and is secured to a basalt base. The award-winning artist Tony Angell, has a long association with these subjects, both in the field and in their company in raising young abandoned ravens. He has written three books featuring these birds:  Ravens, Crows, Magpies, and Jays (U of W Press l978) In the Company of Crows and Ravens (Yale Univ. Press, 2005) and The Gifts of the Crow (Simon and Schuster, 2012)  Angell’s depictions of ravens, both in stone carvings and bronze monuments. are found in museums and public spaces throughout the country and beyond.