When environmental sculptor Patrick Dougherty was a child growing up in Southern Pines, the forest was his playground. “We were making forts constantly. Lots of bending things, piling on other sticks, finding a hidey-hole underneath,” he says.
Dougherty now lives in Chapel Hill and still plays with branches and twigs. But now, well-versed in carpentry, he creates large-scale, site-specific sculptures—imaginative nests made entirely of sticks. He’s built more than 200 across the world and is considered one of the most recognizable figures in environmental art, says Kaye Gorecki, artistic director of The Bascom arts center in Highlands.
Dougherty comes to The Bascom in June to create a piece for the center’s six-acre campus. The center will supply a tractor-trailer load of saplings and volunteers will assist Dougherty. “That’s part of the fun,” Gorecki says. “The community has a stake in building it.” Spectators are welcome to stop by, and there’ll be a public reception on June 19. After this exhibit, you’ll never look at tree clippings the same way again.
Stick Works: Patrick Dougherty Environmental Sculpture
The Bascom, 323 Franklin Rd., Highlands
Construction: June 1-20
To volunteer: (828) 526-4949
Reception: June 19, 5-7 p.m.