Wyoming Arts Council

Public art project uses beetle kill trees

The June 10 edition of Vail (Colo.) Daily (via WyoFile) includes a story about a public art project by Wyoming artists Ben Roth and Brad Watsabaugh using pine beetle kill trees. It’s also an environmental friendly project. The article was written by Caramie Schnell. Here’s an excerpt:

It might look a little like lightning struck three giant lodgepole pine trees in Vail’s Ford Park and split them perfectly down the middle. At least that’s how Wyoming artist Ben Roth envisions the project.

“This half of the tree we’re standing back up, so it’ll be vertical, with a bench coming out of it,” Roth explained to Helda Matern, a visitor from Malibu, Calif. Wednesday afternoon at the Vail park. Roth was taking a break from sanding the halved tree to answer passersby questions. “It’ll look like the shadow of a tree or like it just fell open.”

Three such benches will be lined up at a sharp angle to the Gore Creek that flows behind the installation.

“It’s just the best idea,” Matern mused, staring at one of the dissected 40-foot trees lying sideways atop a few sawhorses next to the recreation path that winds through the park.

The characteristic blue stain in beetle kill trees was visible through the length of the tree. Piles of charcoal-colored branches, pine cones and hundreds of brown needles lay scattered around the area.

The pine trees are being reincarnated into giant sculptures that double as benches in Ford Park this week.

The exhibit, an Art in Public Places project, is entirely sustainable, down to the sawhorses, which were made from leftover wood, said Molly Eppard, the Art in Public Places coordinator.

The trees will remain in the park for as long as Mother Nature allows, she said, and when they do come down, they’ll be put into a wood chipper and used for mulch. Leftover branches will be used to make the signposts explaining the exhibit.

“They want to use as much of the wood as possible,” Eppard said. “It’s pretty amazing that it’s such a sustainable installation.”

Read the rest at http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20100610/AE/100609594/1078&ParentProfile=1062

Ben Roth’s web site at www.benrothdesigns.com

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