Chicago Tree Project Continues to Transform Dead Trees into Sculptures

As much as we like to see urban trees reclaimed as lumber and furniture, sometimes the best use of a dying or dead tree is a second life as art.

Chicago Sculpture International (CSI) and the Chicago Park District (CPD), teamed up for “Chicago Tree Project 2017,” the fourth annual citywide effort to transform sick and dying trees into vibrant public art. Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors transformed a variety of trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community. The collaborative project between CSI artists and CPD and is part of the greater initiative to expand the reach of public art in Chicago.

“The Chicago Park District strives to integrate art and nature in many ways to enhance the experience of public spaces,” said General Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Park District Michael P. Kelly. “This project builds on the city’s reputation for great public art, and brings the work of local sculptors to a wide array of neighborhoods throughout the city.”

Over the course of the summer and fall, artists adopted trees throughout Chicago and modified them through sculpture using traditional carving methods, as well as mixed media and other embellishments. The transformed trees are in geographically diverse areas to give as many residents as possible access to the pieces.

The decorated and carved trees will remain in the parks as long as the trees remain secure.

2017 Tree Artists included: JR Cadawas, Janet Austin, Sandra Bacon & John Hatlestad, Carrie Fischer, Nick Goettling, Tracy Ostmann Haschke, Anthony Heinz May, Cat Chiu Phillips, and Actual Size Artworks (Gail Simpson & Artistotle Georgiades).

Learn more about the Chicago Tree Project and view more sculptures.