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Public art project ‘Stickwork’ revs up

Renowned artist Patrick Dougherty and volunteers to start work on a piece to grace Austin’s oldest park

Two people working on scaffolding on large stick sculpture in park
Sortie de Cave/Free At Last (2008) by Patrick Dougherty, in progress. Located in Chateaubourg, France
Charles Crié, courtesy of LookThinkMake/Patrick Dougherty

Work on a major new public artwork to be installed in Pease Park is slated to start Wednesday.

Patrick Dougherty, whose internationally acclaimed Stickwork project has now placed more than 275 distinct pieces in public spaces around the world, from Australia to France. The Pease Park Conservancy commissioned the artist to create an original piece for the series to reside in the 84-acre park, which winds along Shoal Creek just west of downtown.

Dougherty’s site-specific structure will used saplings harvested from local invasive species such as depression willow and ash and will likely inhabit the whimsical, interactive spirit of other works in the series.

Starting Wednesday, Dougherty and Austin volunteers—100 of them, scheduled in staggered, half-day shifts—will bring the artist’s vision to life in the park’s Custer’s Meadow. It will take about three weeks to complete the project, with a public opening tentatively scheduled for early February.