Infinite Flame


Contributed by Edie Grunwald

From vision to reality, Holly Gittlein creates a stunning sculpture as a dedication to David Grunwald for Academy Charter K-8 School in Palmer, Alaska. It’s Holly’s first kinetic piece – at thirteen feet high, it will attract and reflect light in front of the school - a trinity with the essence of life. It’s a huge burning flame, which she calls “Infinite Flame.” Holly is an accomplished Alaskan artist, creative and magical.

David Grunwald, referred to as “our David,” did not return home the evening of November 13, 2016. David’s 1994 Ford Bronco was discovered the next day torched and abandoned. For nineteen days, hundreds of people searched for sixteen year old David in the bitter cold weather.  The Alaska State Troopers found David’s body on Dec 2, 2016. Four people were arrested for his brutal murder. One person was arrested for hindering and tampering.  

Barbara Gerard, the principal at Academy Charter, and her staff are excited to have this amazing piece of art placed front and center to their school. As Holly has been working on the sculpture, she talks to it and calls it David. One of David’s 7th and 8th grade teachers, Mr. Reilly, smiled at the circle of flames at the height of the sculpture, comparing it to David’s hair that he liked to poof up. Mrs. Molina shared a humorous story about how the students often “pull a David”.  Evidently, he attended a different math class from his assigned math class to see how long it would take the teacher to notice him in the class.

David touched many people and had many friends. He was full of ideas and funny stories; he was a joy to have around. David had a serious side to him – he cared deeply about his faith in God, his family, girlfriend and friends.  

On May 15th, there will be a unveiling for the sculpture at the school’s end-of-year picnic.  If you drive by the school after May 15th, you’ll see this stunning sculpture. 

Thank you Holly for your hard work. It’s evident you put your heart and soul into it. David would have really liked it. Please visit Holly Gittlein’s website: