A Sculpture by John T. Young

Seattle, Washington, 1998
Miami, Florida, 2002

and future strategic locations around the world.

A Global Monument to World Peace and Recycling


(All following photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission of the artist. 1998, 2002.)

Click on images to enlarge

Seattle installation images Magnuson Park:






Artist with friend Aalton at dedication, Memorial Day, 1998. photo: Alan Lande

unfinished fin in studio

model view 

model view

photo credit: Craig Matkin 1994

photo credit: Kelley Balcomb-Bartok 1994

Artist with Trident submarine

Entry plaque

fins on trucks on ferry

Miami installation images Pelican Harbor Park, North Bay Village:



Seattle installation information:

A Gift to the City of Seattle

This work is an environmentally scaled sculpture created using the actual diving-plane fins from decommissioned United States Navy attack submarines built in the 1960s. The fins are arranged to simulate the dorsal fins of a large Orca whale pod or a school of salmon. This artwork represents the ultimate in recycling...."From Swords into Plowshares".

The artwork uses 22 fins placed at various angles and heights (ranging from four feet to twelve feet), and traverse about 500 feet in length. The work is located in Magnuson Park at Sand Point in Seattle. Magnuson Park has particular resonance as a site due to the former U.S. Navy Base at Sand Point which recently became a Seattle Park. Sited there, the artwork serves as a positive historic monument of the Navy's involvement on the site. This artwork is also one of the first memorials in the United States to honor those men and women who served our country during the Cold War.

The fins are composed of high tensile steel and are used intact. Since they are virtually indestructible (they were designed to withstand depth charge attacks!), they are maintenance free. They are completely safe and inert; in other words, they are completely devoid of radioactivity or toxic substances. All the fins are structurally supported by hidden, reinforced concrete footings buried below grade. These footings were designed by the late John Skilling, Seattle's most renowned structural engineer, to ensure the safety of the work and the public.

The work seems to have widespread appeal. For those that appreciate the Navy and submarines, this work is creating a submarine fin park. For those that appreciate whales, it is an artwork about them. For others, it speaks to the idea of turning the ultimate warships- nuclear submarines- into Art. It represents an extremely important period in American history, the Cold War, and symbolically signifies an end to that era. And it is a grand form of recycling in an ecologically sound way. It also represents a significant amount of the national deficit being returned to the people for their enjoyment and appreciation. Beyond all of that, the forms are strong, minimal shapes which create a powerful environmental sculptural experience. There are many positive meanings and layers to this work.

Contributors to the creation of this work also represent a unique and possibly historic collaboration. In addition to the artist, the following were key collaborators and comprised the organizational team in the execution of this work: The United States Navy and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard provided the fins; Mr. Bryan Zetlen, President of Seattle Scientific and liason with the U.S. Navy; Mr. Max Gurvich, renowned philanthropist and art supporter, producer and fund-raiser; and Mr. Louis Treiger, legal counsel for our non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, entitled The Swords Into Plowshares Project Corporation.

Thanks to the generous efforts of the Navy, these gentlemen, the Seattle Arts Commission, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and the numerous private donors, this artwork was donated fully installed as a gift to the City of Seattle, costing the City and taxpayers absolutely nothing.

The opening dedication on Memorial Day, May 25, 1998, was attended by Mayor of Seattle Paul Schell, Washington State Senator Ken Jacobsen, Admiral Paul Sullivan and Admiral William Center, United States Navy, Gemini and Apollo 12 astronaut Richard Gordon, and numerous city officials, patrons of the arts and public. In addition, United States Congressman Norm Dicks sent a letter of support earlier in the year.

The hope is that similar "pods" will be created around the country and the world, as symbols for peace on a global scale. The artist is particularly interested in creating them in Russia near the former Soviet submarine bases in Vladivostock or St. Petersburg, in the desert of the American Southwest, along the coast of Southern California, and on the East Coast.

For more information please contact the artist:

John T. Young
Professor of Sculpture
University of Washington
Seattle, WA. 98195
Tel. 206 543-0997 or 206 417-9560

The Swords Into Plowshares Project
A Non-Profit Corporation
13700 42nd Place N.E.
Seattle, Washington 98125-3830 U.S.A.
Tel./FAX: 206 417-9560

Miami installation information:
September 2002


A public art monument that expresses the hope of world peace is located in the Miami area. The work is designed by artist John T. Young, and creates the image of a giant school of wild dolphins by using fins from decommissioned warships donated by the United States Navy. The work conveys the ancient biblical message, "Turn your Swords into Plowshares", and simultaneously pays tribute to the role our nation's armed forces play in preserving and defending world peace. The work was approved by Miami-Dade County Parks Department and the Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places Commission, and is located in Pelican Harbor Park in North Bay Village, a dramatic waterfront park between Miami and Miami Beach.

The Fin Project: From Swords Into Plowshares is an international project. The work is about turning former nuclear weapons into Art, recycling, and marking an end to war. The first version was successfully completed in Magnuson Park in Seattle, using twenty-two diving plane fins from Cold War era nuclear submarines over a span of 500 feet. In addition to South Florida, versions are being proposed for other strategic locations around the globe, including a coastal city in Russia. The Russian installation will hopefully employ a dozen fins from decommissioned U.S. Navy subs as well as a dozen fins from former Soviet subs mixed together, creating the ultimate statement of international peace, cooperation, and the end of the Cold War.

The work has widespread appeal to diverse groups including naturalists and dolphin/whale watchers, supporters of the U.S. armed forces, especially the Navy and its submariners, as well as the art world. The Fin Project: From Swords Into Plowshares turns the ultimate warships of the modern age -- nuclear submarines -- into Art. It is a memorial that honors the contributions of the servicemen and women during recent poignant times in American history. It also represents a significant amount of the national deficit being returned to the people for their enjoyment and appreciation. The forms are strong, minimal shapes that create a powerful environmental sculptural experience with many positive meanings and layers.

The most important part of the project -the submarine diving plane fins- were donated by the United States Navy. Two dozen fins, each weighing 10,000 lbs. and valued at $25,000, were donated, a total value of approximately $600,000.00. (The fins are completely devoid of toxic substances and radioactivity.) It is necessary to raise the funding to cover the installation costs, approximately $350,000. This includes transportation of the fins from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. to Florida (three fins per flatbed truck), crane, excavation, concrete footings, welding, surface prep and painting, plaques, lighting, crew labor and artist's fee. Consequently, the total value of the artwork is conservatively estimated at $950,000.00.

It is the intention of the Swords Into Plowshares Project Corporation (a Non-Profit 501(c )3 Corporation) to donate the finished projects to the selected parks as gifts to the public. Donors are actively being sought for this global project. All donations are completely tax deductible and donors' names will appear on the entry plaque to the project.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to expand ideas of world peace, recycling and the end of war in a dynamic configuration that directly relates to the natural history and environment of the Florida coast. Anyone interested in making a private or corporate donation to this significant monument for world peace should contact the artist, John T. Young.

Inquiries should be directed to the artist: John T. Young Tel. 206-417-9560
or via email:

Fairwater planes from the following decommissioned United States submarines are included in the Seattle and Miami installations:

Seattle Fins: SSN 669 Seahorse, SSBN 641 Simon Bolivar, SSN 652 Puffer, SSN 615 Gato, SSBN 620 John Adams, SSN 595 Plunger, SSN 638 Whale, SSN 667 Bergall, SSN 673 Flying Fish, SSN 597 Tullibee, SSN 650 Pargo, SSN 662 Gurnard.

Miami Fins: Sea Devil SSN 664, Pogy SSN 647, Sand Lance SSN 660, Pintado SSN 672, Trepang SSN 674, Billfish SSN 676, Archerfish SSN 678, Tunny SSN 682, Von Steuben SSBN 632, Sculpin SSN 590, Cavalla SSN 684.

 The Miami installation was made possible due to the generous assistance from the following individuals, agencies, and corporations:

The Miami-Dade County Department of Parks and Recreation, Vivian Rodriguez, Director.
Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places, Ivan Rodriguez, Director.
North Bay Village City Council
Paula Crouthamel Swetland, Landscape Architect, Miami.
Anzac Contractors, Steve McNamara, Vice-President; Dick Moore, Foreman.
Skilling, Ward, Magnusson and Barkshire Engineers, Seattle; John Skilling and Dick Loess.
Civil Works, Inc. Engineering, Miami.
Landstar Trucking
All Phase Transportation
Beth and Joel Rush
Bank of America
William Vasquez
Rinker Concrete

The artist especially wishes to thank the following gentlemen, whose continuous devotion and support of the international project are making it possible:
Max Gurvich; mentor, chief council, and inspiration.
Bob Fisher; oldest friend and generous supporter.
Don Simmons; visionary in the U.S. Navy P.S.N.S. who enabled the unprecedented, historic transfer of decommissioned nuclear warship parts to an artist for use in this global project.

Index | More views of the project.

John T. Young -