From toppled trees, art

March 14, 2012 

Arboretum CEO Richard Schulhof with one of the hundreds of felled trees. Photo/San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, devastated by last December’s violent windstorms, has some beautiful plans for its fallen trees.

This week, the Board of Supervisors cleared the way for about 100 downed logs and branches to be given to artisans and wood artists to create pieces for a special exhibit and auction benefitting the Arboretum’s continued restoration. The project will be curated by the Arboretum’s artist in residence, Leigh Adams.

“We lost some 235 trees, and several hundred more were damaged,” says Arboretum CEO Richard Schulhof. “Some were total losses, and a lot of that wood has been chipped and is being returned to the soil as mulch here at the Arboretum.

“But we also had piles of tree branches—eucalyptus, oak, coral trees, fig trees. Some of it was very interesting wood that doesn’t grow anywhere else. So after the storm, we had people come up to us and say, ‘What are you going to do with this beautiful wood?’

“And we thought, ‘Why not ask some artists and artisans to do something that speaks to the next generation being planted, and that commemorates the trees that were lost?’”

Because the wood stockpiles are limited, Adams will invite artists to contribute: “We’re looking for people who know and visit the Arboretum, for whom it means something personally,” Schulhof says.

He adds that the auction will be held on the weekend of December 1-2, which is the anniversary of the devastating windstorms. Proceeds will go to the Arboretum Tree Fund established by the nonprofit Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation.

“It will help buy new plantings to replace what was lost,” says Schulhof, “and bring in the Arboretum’s next generation of trees.”

Posted 3/14/12

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