Since 1980, Patrick Dougherty has created over 200 large-scale, site-specific "stickworks" installations made entirely from--you guessed it--sticks. His designs include figures, cocoons, vases, huts and various other monumental subjects. As part of the third annual Artosphere Festival in 2012, Walton Arts Center commissioned Dougherty to create the Out of the Woodworks installation that can be seen standing on Walton Art's Center Tyson Plaza today.
Dougherty is well-known for his installations, which are crafted from saplings harvested from local wooded areas. A carpenter by trade, he began his installation work after studying primitive building techniques using tree saplings as construction materials.
“Sticks are something we all have in common,” Doughtery said of his work. “Everybody knows sticks – the twigs and branches picked up on grandfather’s farm; the branches woven in grandmother’s basket. Somewhere threaded in all the public mass is a common thread, and that thread is the human spirit.”
While the stickworks installation has become an iconic part of Dickson Street, the sculptures were built with a one to two year lifespan in mind, and a plan to recycle the sticks afterward. In order to preserve Dougherty's vision to create something beautiful and temporary that eventually returns to the earth, the sculptures must be removed from their Tyson Plaza location soon.
During the Translating Earth, Transforming Sea visual arts reception on May 1, patrons will have one last chance to snap photos, say goodbye, and enjoy the beauty of the stick sculptures. Upon the de-installation of Out of the Woodworks, Walton Arts Center plans to mulch the sticks and give them away as part of the Artosphere Celebration on May 16. Not only does this ensure the sticks' return to nature before they become hazardous, but — it also invites our community, who has become so invested in this project, to help celebrate and be a part of the life cycle of this special project.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help create this installation, and to those of you who have expressed your kind words, taken photos of and shown your interest in a beautiful piece of art with an even more beautiful message. We hope you'll stay tuned for more community art projects as part of this year's Artosphere Festival!