Immense stick sculpture opens to the public at Morris Arboretum [gallery]

Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum has an impressive new visual display, but it’s not spring blossoms or flowers.

“A Waltz in the Woods,” the newest site-specific stick work sculpture from artist Patrick Dougherty opened to the public this weekend after a three-week construction process.

Truckloads of willow saplings were brought in from Fredonia, N.Y. to create the sculpture’s seven towers, each approximately 30-feet high.

Dougherty’s latest work occupies the ground where his 2009’s “Summer Palace” once stood. The stick work artist has created more than 260 such sculptural works in his 30-year career.

Visitors are welcome to freely explore the installation. Spontaneous games of peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek occur when children and parents tour each tower, ducking through the sometimes narrow entryways and peering through windows.

Every vantage point is a beauty, whether looking out upon the rest of the arboretum or looking within the confines of the sculptural work. But gazing up, especially under a tower’s domed interior, brings on feelings of awe.

Dougherty’s work will eventually succumb to the elements. That process could take two years.

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