South Florida

Sculptor Uses Tree Saplings to Rebuild South Florida Area Devastated by Hurricane Irma

One piece at a time, 72-year-old sculptor Patrick Dougherty puts the finishing touches on his latest creation inside a Pinecrest landmark.

The larger-than-life installation using thousands of tree saplings will soon be ready for visitors at Pinecrest Gardens, months after Hurricane Irma damaged the area.

“We suffered incredible damage and extraordinary damage during Irma, and it was just a very hard time to bring this garden back to life,” said director Alana Perez.

Dougherty, an acclaimed artist who often uses sticks as materials in his work, spent 19 days working, along with 100 volunteers, on a nearly 20-foot-high whimsical sculpture.

“Having him here and building this has allowed him to breathe life back into this sculpture again,” Perez said.

Dougherty had plenty of work ahead of him, with one piece using 30,000 pounds of tree saplings brought in from a willow farm in upstate New York.

“Part of my job as a sculptor is to excite people's imagination that is both young and old,” he said. “Sometimes you kind of awaken the child in the adult.”

Pinecrest Gardens will reveal the artwork to the community next Thursday, November 30th.

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