Artist Visits Juneau


George Schaaf, Peter Reiquam and Marie Darlin survey possible spots for The Empty Chair Memorial in Capital School Park.

Peter Reiquam, the artist who is fabricating The Empty Chair Memorial, along with members of The Empty Chair Steering Committee, walked Capital School Park with Brent Fischer, Director of Parks and Recreation, and George Schaaf, Juneau Parks and Landscape Superintendant, on September 20th. Juneau Empire reporter Melissa Griffiths also attended to record information for a future article once the final site within the park has been approved.

Peter preferred “high ground” for placement of the memorial, a grassy rise near the corner of North Franklin and Fifth streets. The location allows someone seated in the “chair” and facing South to see down the channel where the City Cafe once sat and the docks where the army transport collected the local Japanese internees for their trip to Seattle. Peter also prefers it because of the picturesque Mt. Juneau background and the greenbelt location in the park. In addition, being on a rise not only lends prominence and stature to the memorial, but allows better viewing of it. We are hoping to integrate the committee’s vision for the memorial into future plans for the park prior to the third Capital School Park Master Plan public meeting in October.

Thanks to Roger and Karleen Grummett for housing Peter while he was in Juneau and for hosting a reception to introduce him to the steering committee at their home. In a thank you note to the committee Peter wrote, “The way you have all welcomed me into your circle of friends must be somewhat like the way the Japanese families must have felt on their return to the city. It’s clear there are a lot of caring and compassionate people there and that’s a real comfort. I’m looking forward to working with all of you throughout the life of this project.”

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