A garden for Siri

The Mayor's Department of Neighborhoods has awarded $15,000 to the John Hay Foundation to support the design and implementation of a Friendship Garden at John Hay Elementary School.

The impetus for the project came from the family of Siri Mayo, a third-grader at John Hay who died of cancer in April 2005. The Mayo family wanted to give something back to the school, both to honor the spirit and courage of their daughter and to celebrate the spirit of friendship and strong community support they experienced during her illness.

Siri's parents accepted the award from Acting Director of Neighborhoods Bernie Matsuno at an awards ceremony at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on Sept. 12.

"At the heart of the Friendship Garden is a caring community coming together to honor a child's spirit," said Fran Kremen, the child's mother. "We are thrilled by the amount of community commitment and dedication to this project and hope that Siri's energy and courage will continue to be an inspiration."

During her final months, Siri created a sculpture of the Chinese character meaning "friendship." That character, rendered in a bronze sculpture, will serve as the focal point of the new garden.

In addition, a yearlong series of school art and writing programs will culminate with student art incorporated into the design and sandblasted into the stone benches and statue base or engraved on metal pieces that will be inlaid into the garden walkway.

The garden also will feature drought-tolerant plants and a reader board for announcing school events. The project will break ground in December and be completed by June 2007.

The project is led by local architects Amy Barnett and Arthur Furukawa, landscape designer Bill Noland, artist Judy Kaplan, stone sculptor Stuart Kendall, television producer Mimi Gan and the Mayo family.

The John Hay Foundation is a 501(c)-3 nonprofit organization with the mission of providing financial support for programs at John Hay Elementary School.[[In-content Ad]]