On September 13th, 2008, Hurricane Ike devastated the little town of Galveston, TX. Among the many losses was that of 40,000 trees. Many of the residents were heartbroken over the loss of their beautiful oak trees. If you've ever lived in a town or city that was devastated by a natural disaster, you know how demoralizing the eyesores of the aftermath can be on the human spirit. Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert asked the city council to allow chain saw sculptures to be created from the trees.
At first, she was opposed. City council members feared the city could be liable for potential injuries.
Eventually, the city council relented and supported the project. Residents allowed some of the artists to live with them to complete their works and now there are some 26 sculptures dotting the city. If you look closely at some of these photos, you'll see the incredible level of detail accomplished in this artwork.
Each sculpture is unique and the artist tried to envision a sculpture that was inspired by both the shape of the remaining tree stump, and by something that reflected the love of the property owner or paid tribute to something important to the city. There are now approximately 26 sculptures, and the project is not yet completed.
It was very moving to talk to some of the property owners; they seem both humbled by what they lived through and proud of their determination to withstand the assault of Hurricane Ike. There is something defiant about the sculptures: Galveston was not only not beaten by the storm, but has been determined to triumph with something beautiful in its wake.
I'll post more of these endearing sculptures in the days to come.