Cooling a hotbed of unrest in Mideast?

Published: Monday, Oct. 4 1999 12:00 a.m. MDT

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Flamboyant U.S. glassblower Dale Chihuly on Sunday added his own extension to the 3,000-year old walls of Jerusalem's Old City -- a 64-ton wall of Alaskan ice.

The rapidly melting wall symbolizes the dissolution of barriers between people as we move toward a new millennium, Chihuly said."The ice wall is my way of saying thank you to Jerusalem," the Seattle-based artist said.

The temporary sculpture outside the Old City's Jaffa Gate complements an acclaimed exhibit of Chihuly's blown glass at the nearby Tower of David museum.

Workers used cranes and forklifts throughout the night to place 24 blocks of ice, each three by six feet, into a graduated wall 60 feet long and 20 feet tall. The arctic diamond ice arrived Saturday from an artesian well in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Chihuly unveiled the sculpture as dusk fell on Jerusalem with Mayor Ehud Olmert looking on.

Israeli engineers designed a special platform that pumped water melting off the sculpture to irrigate the nearby hillside.

Chihuly called the project "a dream come true," saying he first developed a connection with the Holy Land in 1962, as a volunteer in a communal farm in Israel's Negev desert.

The Seattle-based Boeing Co., which is bidding to supply Israel's national airline with a new set of commercial planes, funded the $100,000 project.

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