Pia the Peacekeeper, Bainbridge Island’s Troll

We are thrilled to introduce you to the captivating Pia the Peacekeeper, the latest art installation that embodies the essence of community and imagination. Pia the Peacemaker, created by Copenhagen-based artist Thomas Dambo, is an 18-foot-tall troll made from recycled wood residing in Sakai Park. Dambo encapsulates artistry within his creation, harmonizing his vision with woodcraft and a hint of enchantment. Crafted through the unwavering efforts of individuals, businesses, and organizations, Pia stands as a testament to the remarkable ability of art to engage and uplift our Bainbridge Island community.

Start the Geocaching Adventure!

This Geocaching Adventure begins at the ferry terminal and will take you on a tour that includes a new regional trail, an art museum, and if you look close enough, you may even find a troll!

Crafting the Troll’s Tale: Pia’s Journey from Dream to Reality

Made possible by the instrumental efforts of the Scan Design Foundation as the driving force and visionary behind the project, alongside the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation serving as a key fiscal supporter, this transformative public art undertaking stands as a testament to their involvement. With a focus on fostering Danish-American relations through the lens of environmental sustainability, the Scan Design Foundation took the lead in sponsoring this initiative. The community took a strong interest in the project as well, receiving donations large and small from multiple businesses and community members.

The chance to house this remarkable art series found its way to the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. Dawn Janow, a dedicated member of the Park District Board, took up the cause of championing Pia the Peacekeeper’s home on Bainbridge Island. Dawn’s commitment rallied a remarkable network, uniting many local partners. From the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District and beyond, Dawn’s leadership acted as a cohesive force that transformed this captivating vision into reality.

Integral to the realization of the iconic “Pia the Peacekeeper” troll sculpture at Sakai Park, the Park District played a central role as the site partner to help orchestrate the collaborative efforts that breathed life into this distinctive masterpiece. To delve into the troll’s creation process, listen to Dawn’s interview on B.I. Stander.

“We are excited to showcase the creative ingenuity of Dambo’s work to Northwest audiences in this ambitious exhibition. His message of turning trash into treasure and building community through art will resonate with all who experience his mystical troll sculptures.”

Fidelma McGinn

President, Scan Design Foundation

Watch the troll come to life with our time-lapse video!
Music credit: “Swing for Mike” by Ranger and the “Re-Arrangers”

Breaking Ground on the Troll

In addition to Thomas Dambo’s talented team, the sculpture took shape with the help of the Park Services crew, Scout Troop 1496, Cub Scout Pack 4496, and numerous dedicated volunteers, spanning seven days. Throughout this period, the Scout Troop and Scout Pack transformed into the “Troll Patrol,” responsibly managing the site and tools during nighttime.

From disassembling wooden pallets, cutting wood pieces, screwing together parts, clearing brush, lodging, and making meals for the crew, our community is vital to this artistic journey. On the morning of 8/19/23 at 8:19 am, Pia officially woke up and was met with music and celebration from her new Bainbridge Island family.

“The Thomas Dambo troll sculptures are a great example of how art can make us reflect on nature and the environment and how we can make a difference. Denmark is a frontrunner when it comes to green transition, and we have a close collaboration with the U.S. on climate and green solutions. The sculpture project emphasizes our two countries’ commitment to environmental themes, as well as the close connection between the Pacific Northwest and Denmark.”
Christina Markus Lassen

Ambassador of Denmark to the United States

Thomas Dambo and Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King

Thomas Dambo and Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King

Thomas Dambo is considered the world’s leading recycle artist and is famous for his various art installations worldwide, most notably his Troll sculptures. Thomas Dambo’s creativity knows no bounds. With 100 larger-than-life troll sculptures across the globe, his work redefines interactive art. The Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King marks the arrival of Dambo’s trolls to the Pacific Northwest, creating a bridge between cultural heritage and environmental stewardship.

The result: six magnificent, hand-crafted troll sculptures that now grace the landscape. Notably, Bainbridge Island is one of the six NW Way of the Bird King partner sites, joining Portland, Vashon, West Seattle, Issaquah, and Seattle in this overarching endeavor. Positioned across the Pacific Northwest, each whimsical troll is not only a work of art but also a contributor to a profound environmental narrative. Bridging cultural heritage between Coast Salish tribal communities and Scandinavian customs, this project exalts the human encounter with art, forging meaningful connections.

“This project celebrates the human experience of art and the connection between Coast Salish tribal communities, Danish and Scandinavian traditions, and our shared value of environmental stewardship. It uses the power of storytelling to engage people of all ages to learn about the environment and the steps we can all take to better preserve and protect it.”
Cat Martin

Arts & Communities Program Director, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Troll’s Tale: Pia’s Story

Pia the Peacekeeper isn’t just a sculpture; she’s a storyteller. Woven into her form is the narrative of environmental harmony, a tale that resonates with the Park District’s commitment to stewardship. As we celebrate the interplay of art and nature through Pia, we reinforce our dedication to nurturing a community that values, protects, and celebrates our parks, open spaces, and cultural heritage.

Through Pia, we celebrate the human connection to art, emphasizing the web of cultural heritage connecting Coast Salish tribal communities with Danish and Scandinavian traditions. This initiative underscores our shared values in preserving the environment, particularly in safeguarding watersheds, restoring ecosystems, and upholding riparian habitats. With her home on traditional Coast Salish territories, the collaboration with the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes is of the utmost importance.

According to her artist, Thomas Dambo, Pia “is like a playful troll, because she is playing with the humans, but she’s also a little bit scary because she’s kind of strong like a little girl can sometimes by accident break a leg or poke an eye out or light a fire to the hair of her doll,” Dambo says. “Don’t upset Pia because you might lose a leg.”

A Poem for Pia, by Thomas Dambo

Pretty pretty please, let’s keep the peace beneath the trees,

Hold you in my hand, I will remind you with a squeeze;

Quiet, little people, cause your criers make me tired,

Pia likes to play with people, people they keep quiet.

Visiting the Troll — Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get There From the Ferry?

There are so many ways to visit Pia at Sakai Park. Walking, biking, and public transportation are all in keeping with Pia’s value of environmental sustainability. Minimal vehicle parking is available on site. Also, we encourage you to take a moment, or a day, to enjoy Bainbridge Island and its abundant natural beauty.

Pia lives approximately one mile from the ferry and can be accessed via:

  • FOOT: It’s a little over a mile from the ferry terminal. Take the Sound to Olympics trail, which runs alongside Highway 305 and is easily accessed from the terminal and downtown. If you take the walk, we encourage the lovely little John Nelson Trail — a verdant short loop trail that hugs a vibrant ravine. Cross 305 at High School Road, and look for the nearest trail. You can also access the Park via Madison Avenue, just about .5 miles from downtown Winslow.

  • BICYCLE: Bicycle rentals are available at Bike Barn Rentals at the ferry terminal and Classic Cycle behind the McDonalds on 305.

  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: You can take Kitsap Transit and BI Ride from the terminal. Disembark at 305 and High School Road or the stop near the library. Note there is no public transportation on Sundays.

  • LYFTS/UBERS/TAXIS: do not operate regularly on Bainbridge Island.

Where Can I Park?

Parking at Sakai Park is very limited during construction on Madison Avenue now through fall 2024. Kindly avoid parking on the road or grass, as this could lead to safety hazards and grass damage. Thank you for your understanding.

How Long Will the Troll Be Here?

By virtue of the recycled materials, Pia is intended to be a temporary installation for the public to enjoy for several years. The artist intends that Pia to age naturally. The Park District will perform basic maintenance and repairs to keep Pia safe and in good shape for as long as possible. You can help keep Pia healthy by treating her and her surroundings with care.

Can I Touch the Troll?

Visitors are free to hug and take pictures with Pia; Pia loves hugs! We ask visitors to refrain from climbing on the troll to avoid injury and ensure that she can be enjoyed for many years.

Let’s work together to keep Pia and all our visitors safe by avoiding rough play or actions that could cause harm. Feel free to take photos, enjoy the scenery, and create lasting memories with Pia – remember, gentle exploration is key. Your cooperation helps us maintain a happy and safe space for everyone.

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