Natural resource sculpture project begins in March

March 2, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Visiting artist Patrick Dougherty will work with Purdue University students to construct a two-story high sculpture made from local natural materials during March.

"Mr. Dougherty is known internationally for his site-specific monumental sculptures created from tree saplings, a locally harvested and renewable source," said Michal Hathaway, assistant director of Purdue Galleries. "The construction is performed on site and will be visible to all from start to finish. Once completed, it will stand for two to three years at the southwest corner of Pao Hall on Marsteller Street before being deconstructed and the materials returned to nature."

This project is a collaborative effort between the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts. Twenty-seven undergraduate and graduate students are participating in the five-week "Plants, Landscape and Art" class, which is taught by Ann Hildner, an assistant professor in landscape architecture, and Steve Visser, a professor in visual and performing arts. Under the direction of Hildner, the students - 15 from landscape architecture, 10 from art and design, and two from horticulture - will begin gathering sapling material from local woodlots on March 2, and construction will begin on March 7. The team plans to work regularly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays through March 25. Construction also will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 12-13. Anyone is welcome to observe the work.

The students will be working with Dougherty on scaffolding and weaving the flexible branches into a solid, twisting form that may stand two to three stories high.

Dougherty's residency is supported by the Florence H. Lonsford Fund and the Bookwalter Fund. These funds have been made available from the College of Liberal Arts, Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts, the College of Agriculture, and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources:  Michal Hathaway, 765-496-2816,

                   Ann Hildner, 765-494-1309,

                   Steve Visser, 765-494-2295,

                   Mary Ann Anderson, assistant to the director of Purdue Galleries, 765-496-7899,

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in more information about times and dates when the sculpture is being constructed can contact Michal Hathaway, assistant director of Purdue Galleries, 765-496-2816,