Arts & Culture

Patrick Dougherty: Stickwork

Finding Sticks & Saplings For GA Tech Art Installation

If you were in Serenbe earlier this month you may have driven past a group of people collecting saplings and sticks on one of the trails and thought, what are they doing? Or if you’re an Atlanta native, you’ve  probably seen the massive art installation at Georgia Tech’s campus. What is going on, you’re wondering?

The group in the woods of Serenbe was in preparation for a huge, nature-based art installation by acclaimed sculptural artist Patrick Dougherty who is creating a land art “stickwork” piece on Georgia Tech’s campus built from natural materials, specifically wood and saplings.

This site-specific, permanent installation will be the first section of the new Eco-Commons, to be made up of 80-acres of greenspace, that will preserve the natural topography and link smart infrastructure across Georgia Tech’s campus, according to their website. The installation will be located in front of the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design on Ferst Drive between Hemphill Avenue and State Street. It’s being called a “remarkable reclamation project” and we totally agree, as we witnessed a large group of volunteers work diligently over the span of three days to collect saplings from the Serenbe woods for the one of a kind art project. Volunteers came with their gloves, ready to work with Patrick on whatever he needed.  

Although it was pretty chilly at 8 a.m., all of the volunteers were happy to be out in nature working directly with the artist to create something beautiful out of natural materials. It was truly a special way to connect with nature and each other, and that’s what Serenbe is all about. Everyone was safely socially-distanced and took COVID precautions, of course.

You may be curious about the artist if you aren’t familiar with his previous work. Patrick Dougherty creates monumental scale environmental projects using locally sourced saplings and other materials. His vision and execution of each project are what drive him forward and sets him apart, as each installation is community-driven from design all the way through construction. He has built over 300 of these natural stickworks over the last thirty-some years, and have been installed all over the world, from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and all over the Unites States. He’s won numerous awards and recognitions for his beautiful and inspiring work. Serenbe is honored to be a part of his latest project and partnering with Georgia Tech Arts.

Want to learn more about sustainable regenerative design from Patrick himself? Watch the video interview below, a conversation between Patrick and Veronica Klucikk, exhibitions manager at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). This video was originally live streamed on Facebook on Thursday, January 14, 2021. You can also watch media coverage of the installation on Georgia Tech’s campus with Paul Miliken on Good Day Atlanta.  The art installation will be completed later this month with a formal unveiling around Earth Day, April 2021.

For a view of the final product, watch the video below!

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