The art that graced the streets surrounding Highland’s downtown Square during the 15th annual Highland Street Art Fest, which was Saturday, Sept. 16, has since washed away. But one piece in the park itself is still standing strong, and will for some time.
“The 15th annual Street Art Festival was a huge success. Over 50 artists and assistants transformed our streets around the downtown Square into colorful works of art,” said Highland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancie Zobrist. “There is another beautifully carved tree decorating the Square, and the Arts Council has a community created Unity Pole that will be finding a permanent home after making another appearance at Art in the Park.”
Wood carver Brian Willis was commissioned by the Highland Arts Council to transform a dead tree on the east side of the Square into a permanent work of art. In 2011, Willis did the same thing when a tree died on the west side of the Square.
The sculpture ties many forms of art into its totem pole design.
“It involves all the different things the Arts Council is involved with,” Willis said. “You’ve got painting. You’ve got glass-blowing. You’ve got ballet. You’ve got pottery.”
The theme for Willis’ work, which took three days to create, ties in with the Arts Council’s plan to build a unique art gallery.
“They are commissioning a tree house to be built somewhere around the area, so that’s what the carving represents,” Willis said
The Arts Council plans to build its Tree House Art Gallery on the banks of Old City Lake. The gallery will play to host exhibits and musical performances, as well as provide workshop space for local artist and a place to host art classes.
In addition to the tree art, Highland Arts Council also sponsoring and coordinated a “unity pole,” an interactive art piece created by community members.
“We want to show it takes a village in order to make art happen in the community,” said Lynnette Schuepbach, Highland Arts Council president. “We are trying to do a Treehouse Art Gallery art center, and we know that the whole community is gonna have to get together.”
The project is a three-dimensional frame of PVC piping. Everyone who passed by was asked to weave yarn between the pipes, creating a colorful web meant to catch the eye and net people’s interest in art.
“At the end, we each put our little string in there, and it comes together as one big piece of art,” Schuepbach said.
The unity pole will be housed at a location yet to be determined by the Highland Arts Council, but it will first make an appearance at Art in the Park, Oct. 13-15 at Lindendale Park in Highland.